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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Blogger's perspective: Cameron Heyward

By James Walker

The AFC North blog continues its series with ESPN.com's college writers to take an in-depth look at potential prospects for the division.

On Wednesday we check in with Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg to get a scouting report on Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward, who is a potential target of the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Adam, after watching Heyward closely the past few years, how would you break down his game?

Ohio State Buckeye defensive end Cameron Heyward
Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward came through at big times for the Buckeyes.
Adam Rittenberg: There's a lot to like about Heyward even though he didn't have monster numbers his senior season. He boasts excellent size and can play both defensive line positions, as he showed for much of his college career. Heyward is a big-game player, as he showed with dominant performances against both USC and Penn State in 2009 and again in the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, which was his best performance with the Buckeyes. Pro teams will be looking for more consistency out of him. Heyward understands the NFL life. His father Craig played in the league, and he has a definite maturity about him. He'd be a good pick for a team that uses a 3-4 scheme.

Should Heyward's late-season injury be a concern?

Rittenberg: The elbow injury isn't a concern to me. He suffered it in the second quarter of the Sugar Bowl and still went on to have his best game as a Buckeye.

Heyward has drawn some pro comparisons to Vernon Gholston, who was a star at Ohio State but a bust in the NFL. Fair or unfair?

Rittenberg: The Gholston comparisons are a little unfair. Heyward is more than just a pure pass rusher and played quite a bit on the inside at Ohio State, which does a nice job of moving around its linemen. Heyward can affect games without solely pressuring the quarterbacks.