A very good bull rusher and has good strength. Gets under blocker's pads and will drive him back into the quarterback. Has a good motor and keeps working. Has a nice first step. Sheds blockers at the point of attack and will make the stop. Shows ability in pursuit, working down the line to make the play. Shows good recognition and can sniff out screens.
Lacks the speed and burst to really challenge the edge or corner. Doesn't have great short-area burst to finish play and close on the quarterback. Has some trouble disengaging from blocker and will get pushed back at times. Tends to have tougher time against the better quality opponents like Bryan Bulaga.
Heyward is more of a run stopper, but can press the pocket and disrupt the pass. He can impact as a pass rusher, but won't be a big sack guy at the next level. But he is a very good run stopper that is mainly a bull rusher, and if he develops that even more, he can be a productive player on the next level. Reminds me of a less explosive version of Richard Seymour. Ohio State employs a hybrid style defense, so he'll play DE in a 3-man front, but will also get many reps at DT in a 4-man front. He is effective in both, although he project much better as an end in the 3-4 on the next level. He'll fit best in a team that prefers its pass rush to come from its linebackers and prefers its ends to hold blocks, press the pocket, and play the run. He can do those things exceptionally well. If he were to bulk up some, he could be a nice option inside in the 4-3, but not as great a fit there.
What I Want to See in 2010:
There isn't a lot I need to see from Heyward to believe he can make it on the next level. Maybe if he could add another pass rush move besides the bull rush that would be a bonus. As well as being more consistent vs. the run when facing the better blockers he sees. Two big matchups will be against Wisconsin's Gabe Carimi and Miami's Orlando Franklin.
Heyward has the potential to be a Top 10 pick. I'm sure he'll be a first round pick when all is said and done, but how high he goes will be determined by where 3-4 teams are picking in the draft. He could slip some in the first round because he may not show as much potential as a pass rusher as some other potential 3-4 ends, but I feel confident he'll be a Top 25 pick when all is said and done.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.