And if there was any doubt about Heyward's first-round draft prospects — and the possibility he could land at No. 32 to Green Bay on April 28 — he answered them during a personal pro day on the Ohio State campus on Wednesday.
With 25 teams in attendance — including the Packers — a source told Packer Report on Tuesday that Heyward's hands were "violent and powerful" and that his punch was strong. That was the best news of all, considering Heyward needed Tommy John surgery after sustaining torn ligaments in his elbow during the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas.
Heyward finished the game. He was told that he didn't need the surgery and that he'd be fine with rehab, but had he re-injured the elbow, surgery would be required with an eight- to 12-month rehab. As it is, Heyward had surgery by renowned Dr. James Andrews on Jan. 12 and was going full-bore through football drills 11 weeks later.
The only thing Heyward didn't do was the bench press. The source said Heyward has been lifting weights since the Scouting Combine but neither Heyward nor the teams saw any reason for him to stress the injury since strength has never been an issue when watching him on tape.
His 40-yard time was 4.95 seconds, according to the source, with a ridiculous 35-inch vertical leap from the 6-foot-5, 295-pounder.
Heyward, the son of former NFL running back Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, was a four-year starter for the Buckeyes. As a senior, he recorded 3.5 sacks and 13 tackles for losses, including a dominating performance against Arkansas, with a sack and 3.5 TFLs despite suffering the injury in the second quarter.
Heyward has prototypical size to be a 3-4 defensive end, and there's some tape of him playing those principles. He played predominately defensive tackle in the Buckeyes' 4-3 scheme, but on third-down passing situations, the defense switched to a 3-4 in which Heyward was one of the inside rushers. Moreover, his character and work ethic make him one of the safest picks in the draft and would put him play for the Packers, who might be looking to upgrade their defensive line because of standout Cullen Jenkins' expected departure, suspended Johnny Jolly's latest legal troubles and Ryan Pickett's advancing age (he'll turn 32 a month into the season).
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.