College: Ohio State
Position: DE (3-4), DE (4-3), DT (4-3)
Height: 6′5″ Weight: 295 lbs.
Born: May 6, 1989 From: Suwanee, GA
2) High School / College Highlights: In Heyward’s senior year of high school, he totaled over 100 tackles and 16 sacks. For his efforts, he was voted Georgia Class 5A Defensive Player of the Year.
Scout.com rated Heyward as their No. 20 defensive end and 15th best prospect in Georgia, and he was ranked No. 13 and 7th in those same categories on Rivals.com. Heyward was also a good high school basketball player and graduated with a 3.25 GPA.
Once at Ohio State, Heyward got right to work. He started eight games his freshman season and had 2.5 sacks, earning him freshman All-American and freshman All-Big Ten honors. He continued to start his sophomore year, but Heyward’s production leveled out. In 13 starts, he accumulated just 36 tackles and 3 sacks.
However, Heyward put his name on the draft map with a solid 2009 season. In 13 starts for the Rose Bowl Champions, Heyward had 6.5 sacks and 10 tackles for losses. He was a Lombardi Award nominee—given to the nation’s best defensive lineman or linebacker—and was voted Second Team All-Big Ten.
Heyward had the option to put his name in the 2010 NFL draft, but he came back to Ohio State for his much-anticipated senior season. Many pegged Heyward as a top-10 pick before the season, but his production in 2010 didn’t match the hype. Heyward tallied just four sacks and 13 tackles for losses, but he did look like a dominant player in the Sugar Bowl against Ryan Mallett and Arkansas. He was voted First Team All-Big Ten.
3) College Stats: 51 games/46 starts, 162 tackles, 15 sacks, 37.5 tackles for losses, 4 forced fumbles, 1 interception
4) NFL Combine Results: 30-inch vertical jump (did not partake in any other workout at Combine). Pro Day: 4.95 40-yard dash, 35-inch vertical.
5) Strengths/Weaknesses: While not your classic speed rusher at defensive end, Heyward is an agile and explosive player for a man his size (6’5″, 295 pounds). His main strength, however, is rushing the passer with power. He’s strong in the upper body, and uses his hands well to disengaged blockers. This kind of power also makes Heyward a disruptive force against the run.