Potential Patriots draftees: Cam Heyward

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Potential Patriots draftees: Cam Heyward

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Heading into the NFL draft, Tom E. Curran plans a series of looks at potential Patriots draftees. Today's player: Cam Heyward.

Cam Heyward, 6-5, 294, DE,Ohio State

The Skinny:Son of Ironhead. A four-year starter at high-profile, highly-competitive program. While Cam Jordan is wonderfully versatile, Cam Heyward is near the other end of this deep class of defensive end prospects. He's a run-stopper; a plugger. He doesn't do a ton of different things - little pass rush upside - but what he does, he can do pretty well. He's got a very good reputation as a player, teammate and worker.

Gotta Have Him:Drafting Heyward would likely mean the days of kicking Vince Wilfork out to the edge would be over. Coupling Heyward with Wilfork on first and second down would mean a very, very stout front wall that should keep linemen off of inside linebackersJerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes. Additionally, he's a very unselfish, team-first player. Safe pick.

Don't Need Him:Talk about a panning of physical skills? Here's Pro Football Weekly draft analyst on Heyward: "Too gawky, oafish and bumbling in his movement. Lacks coordination, balance and grace." The Patriots love versatility and Heyward really doesn't bring it. A guy like Cam Jordan would address all three downs. Heyward is just a two-down guy.

Forecast:Wes Bunting at the National Football Post says Heyward is the "steady Eddie of the group." Continuing, Bunting said, "He's just a really solid two-down player. He doesn't give you a ton on third down but he's a really safe pick. Not the sexiest selection and could fall into the second round, but if you look at recent drafts, these kinds of guys are the ones teams like. He could be off the board from 20 to 32 or in the early second round. He'd present very good value there."

Patriots Draftability: 7

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.