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-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)