ESPN draft expert Todd McShay has the Ravens selecting Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward with the 26th pick in the fourth version of his mock draft (which was released on March 16).
Heyward is a thick, big-boned lineman who has NFL bloodlines – his father is the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, a former running back for the New Orleans Saints. He is considered a first-round talent but his average senior season (3 ½ sacks) likely dropped his stock.
At 6 feet 5, 280 pounds, Heyward is projected to play defensive end in a 3-4 defense. He could be the eventual replacement for Cory Redding, who is entering the final year of his contract with the Ravens.
According to McShay: "Addressing their cornerback need with a player like Jimmy Smith is an option but Smith comes with character baggage and isn't worth the risk here. Heyward comes with some risks, too, after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow after the college season, but he's expected to make a full recovery and all you have to do is watch the tape of his Sugar Bowl performance against Arkansas to see how much potential he has. And something tells me Ray Lewis would take Heyward under his wing and teach him a thing or two about being a pro."
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