Ben Heeney   LB   Kansas


Ben might be the best pure middle 4-3 linebacker in this draft. He is instinctive, with a burst to the ball that makes him nothing but a nightmare for offensive coordinators to have to take into account on every play, whether pass or run. He doesnít stay blocked and plays with the violent type of hand quickness to shed blocks that will surprise the team that selects him in this draft. Ben is a playmaker who is around the ball on just about every play. When an offense throws to a check down receiver, Ben looks like he gets shot out of a bazooka and takes that player down like heís on a horse roping a steer. Ben is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler with quick feet and the strength to take down players bigger than he is because he plays like a pit bull looking for meat. He is smart and shows leadership skills through his playmaking ability on the field. He is respected by his coaches and teammates and his play on the field shows that he loves to play football. Ben reminds me a lot of the late Pat Tillman, an undersized LB for Arizona State University who was drafted in the 7th round of the 1998 draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Pat was moved to safety for the Arizona Cardinals and was an impact player his first year in the NFL. Ben plays with the same passion, instincts, technique and street smart savvy that Pat brought with him to everything he did on the field and off. Ben is a football player. The purpose of the draft is to play those players who play with the passion and talent Ben (Pit Bull) Heeney possesses.

Most teams will downgrade Ben based on his size. They might downgrade Ben because he might have to change his position. Then they might downgrade Ben because they think he only fits one style of defense. But if you noticed I havenít mentioned anything about downgrading Ben because of his talent or intangibles and character. Make note of that.

When I do a profile of a player, I donít try to just measure his measurables. What I try to do is measure his intangibles. Ben is the type of player who will impact at some position the day after you draft him. He has the passion and instincts to play more than one position and with his unique ability to see the whole field like a franchise quarterback does after the snap of the ball, Ben shows a combination of talent and skills few players bring with them coming out of college game. I have said for years that size is not a reason to downgrade a player unless you feel at the next level that player canít play bigger than his size. He has the quick feet and athleticism to cover and understands zone coverage better than most linebackers who play in the NFL now. If you select Ben, he will impact as a middle linebacker or outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. He will stay on the field for all three downs and on the goal line, somebody better get a block on him or he will make the play. There are linebackers bigger than Ben, but there are none that are better. Some teams will downgrade Ben because they may think that he is a specialty safety or specialty linebacker and that might be the way he gets on the field. However, once Ben gets on the field, he will never come off. Thatís the type of player he is, again very much like Pat Tillman was. Heís like a pit bull looking for a meal and thatís why I call him Ben (Pit Bull) Heeney.

Drew Boylhart