Cameron Heyward vs Gabe Carimi


Every week we take a look at the top match-ups that pin NFL prospects against one another.  This week we felt that the match-up against Heyward and Carimi was going to be a very good one and the most interesting to us.  Both players are ranked in the top 15 in our Big Board.

While both players are highly regarded prospects they are not without their question marks.  Carimi is a big physical offensive tackle that some feel doesnt have quick enough feet to hold up against the faster pass rushers in the NFL.  Our thoughts here at NFL Mocks are that he can hold his own against the speed rush but needs to work on his footwork.  His footwork issues are something that can be corrected.  Heyward is a bit of hybrid player in that he has the skills to play several different defensive line positions.  Watching him play people get the sense that he may never be a real dominate pass rusher and I tend to agree with that statement.  However, he his tough against the run and has the athletisicm to develop into a 8-10 sack guy in the NFL.  Now lets get to some of my views of their head to head battle.

Gabe Carimi Scouting Report

Cameron Heyward Scouting Report

Continue reading our thoughts on this match-up after the jump.

First thing I want to say is that Carimi is an excellet run blocker!  He has a feel for the game that allows him to open running holes even if he doesnt blow his assignment off the ball.  Numerous times he was able to turn Heyward’s shoulders just enough to open a good running lane for John Clay and James White.  The other thing I noticed about Carimi is that he gets to the second level of blockers exteremly quick.  His ability to get to the second level and make sure he secured his inital block allowed the Wisconsin running backs to break off a few long runs.  This game wasnt a good opportunity to see someone exploit Carimi’s weakness.  He was mainly matched up against Heyward who mainly used a bull-rush.  Carimi was able to handle the bull-rush by reallying anchoring and holding strong.  He was the one usually delivering the initial blow which knocked the defenders off balance.

Cameron Heyward had a decent game and I think while he has a lot of pro potential there could be some disappointed fans depending on where he is selected.  Watching the game I noticed he is strong against the run and is able to hold strong at the point of attack.  He does a good job extending his arms and keeping blockers off of his body.  Heyward wasnt able to penetrate and get into the backfield, most of his tackles came at the line of scrimage or a yard downfield.

My overall impressions from this game is that I feel Carimi got the best of Heyward but the style of play fit into Carimi’s comfort level.  Both played good games and you could only point out that Heyward didnt make plays in the backfield.  This game only puts a bigger spot light on the concerns I have with Heyward.  He will hold strong but will not make a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage and if your selected in the top 10 people are going to expect sacks and tackles for loss.  His best fit will be at defensive end in a 3-4 alignment where he will be expected to hold the edge in the running game and also create some pressure in passing downs.  Now if thats where he fits best NFL fans need to realize that you’re not going to see 15 sacks a season out of Heyward and most of his impact may not show up in the stat book.

Carimi still needs to improve his footwork but I still feel that he is the top tackle right now and that could change by the end of the season.  Carimi will have two tough match-ups in the next two weeks against fellow big boarders Adrian Clayborn of Iowa and Ryan Kerrigan of Purdue.  How he performs in these games will go a long way towards his draft stock.