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Blog Entry

Focus was on Mallett, but Heyward stole the show

Posted on: January 5, 2011 1:14 pm
 
NFL scouts watching last night's Sugar Bowl may have tuned in primarily to watch Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett play in what is widely expected to be his final collegiate game, but a funny thing happened along the way -- Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward stole the show.

Heyward was dominant, lining at RDE, LDE and defensive tackle and beating virtually every blocker the Razorbacks put in front of him, including All-SEC offensive tackle DeMarcus Love, a potential first round pick.

Heyward, the son of the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, played inspired football last night on the same field in which his father had once starred at fullback for the New Orleans Saints. Ironhead succumbed to a long battle with brain cancer and passed away in May of 2006 at the age of 39.

After a breakout junior season in which young Heyward registered 46 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks while earning Second Team All Big-Ten honors, expectations were high. Heyward's production in 2010 was similar in tackles (42) and tackles for loss (10) but with only 2.5 sacks on the season, many characterized his regular season as a disappointment. Big Ten coaches certainly did not, as they voted Heyward to the First-Team all-conference team.

Against the Razorbacks, however, Heyward was a terror, registering six tackles, including 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack. On numerous other occasions, his rare combination of burst upfield, stellar strength and recognition forced Arkansas ball-carriers to alter their running, presenting Buckeye teammates with easy tackles near the line of scrimmage.

Heyward lacks the burst off the edge that teams operating out of the 4-3 defense are looking for in a first round defensive end. However, with enough burst to occassionally surprise pass blockers, an effective swim move and most importantly excellent size and strength, Heyward rates as one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the draft.

Considering that roughly half of the NFL listed the 3-4 scheme as their base defense this season, there should be plenty of suitors for Heyward early in the draft - including the Baltimore Ravens - who I currently project as taking Heyward in the first round.

Comments

Since: Sep 4, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2011 11:14 pm
 

Focus was on Mallett, but Heyward stole the show

Ryan Mallet made some throws to the back shoulder that should have scouts salivating. Sure he misread the zone blitz and that one interception ended the game. But that one play was not the reason the Razorbacks lost.  Joe Adams dropped at least two huge passes, and the usually reliable DJ Willimas even had a drop. Conversley Dane Sanzenbacher made a terrific catch and recoverred a Pryor fumble for another score, in essence the Buckeyes made plays and the Razorbacks missed plays.  Mallet was pressured in the pocket for most of the game and still put up respectable numbers. If his WR corps had made the catches, to balls he put on the money, I belive the Razorbacks had a good shot at winning that game.  Mallet also had another near pick, but from what I remember Joe Adams slowed down over the middle and had he kept his speed up, the pass was catchable.  However as FBTailgate suggests, Mallet thows into traffic and it was not the best decision.

Heywards stock went up, D. Love's went down, and Mallet stayed about the same.  



Since: Jan 5, 2011
Posted on: January 5, 2011 2:39 pm
 

Focus was on Mallett, but Heyward stole the show

Very interesting indeed ... Heyward will be a very good contributor even in his rookie year and I agree he could also be an amazing player in Baltimore. Mallet, however, I cannot trust and almost hope that he isn't drafted until the mid second or even early third round. He has all of the measurables and the prototypical quarterback size to go with it ... but so does Derek Anderson. And, from what we have seen in big games, both will make POOR decisions with the football. Both look to be the poor mans version of a Brett Favre ... rocket arm, great guys, ton of toughness ... but take way too many chances. Disagree?


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