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Raiders draft pick 2015: In depth look at rookie LB Ben Heeney and what he brings to the Raiders

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Raiders rookie linebacker Ben Heeney is ready to earn his way in the NFL.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie McKenzie is a man that likes to play his cards close to his vest so it is no shock that he would have kept the team's interest in Heeney under wraps. Ben Heeney himself had no idea that the Raiders were interested in him even! However, Reggie obviously saw something he liked in the Kansas native who always went full speed while playing for the Jayhawks.


6'0", 231lbs

Combine Results:

40-yd Dash: 4.59

Bench Press: 19 Reps

Vertical Jump: 33.5 Inch

Broad Jump: 120.0 inch

3-Cone Drill: 6.68 Sec

20 Yard Shuttle: 4.0 Sec

60 Yard Shuttle: 11.06 Sec


2014: 127 total tackles, 88 unassisted, 12 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception

2013: 88 total tackles, 55 unassisted, 11.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 interceptions

2012: 112 total tackles, 66 unassisted, 12 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble

2011: 8 total tackles, 5 unassisted


Ben Heeney is a player that is either in the right place and going full speed, or in the wrong place and going full speed. The Raiders will absolutely need to keep him in the right place more often if he is to succeed in the NFL. He also will take on blockers and at times he gets swallowed up by larger players because of his smaller frame. He is able to fight his way off too and he will scratch, claw, dive and reach his way to the ball carrier if he is nearby.

When you watch Ben Heeney's highlights you really do see him put his whole heart into the game, he never gives up on a play and lives by his instincts on the field.

His times of guessing wrong (though his 127 tackles shows he often guessed right) and his size are the biggest reasons that he fell to the 5th round in the draft. You can see examples of his instincts and how they bit him several times in the video above of his game against Oklahoma. However, you also see him never give up and be consistently around the ball.

His fall happened despite being a 3 year starter at MLB, first team Big 12 in his senior year, and an honorable mention for Big 12 player of the year. Obviously there was concern over how well his style of play would translate to the NFL, but if he can transition then his motor will pay off in the long run.

What Ben Heeney needs to thrive is a patient coaching staff that will help him narrow down his decision making and make him a little bit more patient. He plays so fast that he gets a little bit wild, Jack Del Rio's staff is going to need to figure out a way to slow him down while not dulling his instincts. They will need to teach him to be able to read the play better before taking off like a bullet.

How will Heeney fit with the Raiders?

Ben Heeney is looking at the Raiders with fresh eyes as a player that is going to be willing to do whatever is asked of him. He has spent his entire career at Kansas as a middle linebacker, but with his lack of size but impressive speed he could be a better fit for Oakland on the Outside. He feels he can play anywhere they need him to, but coming in he will be concentrating on making a name for himself on special teams.

"I think I can play anything. I think I can play Mike, Will – I really think I can play anything and be productive and be a guy that you guys can count on. More than anything, I’m ready to come in and pave my way on special teams and try to be a guy is a four[-unit] special teams starter. I think I can start on every special team right away and eventually work my way up and become a contributing factor on defense."

It is always good to hear a later round draft pick be realistic enough and motivated enough to concentrate on Special Teams first and foremost. He does have a chance to play at linebacker but look for him to make the biggest impact on special teams units as a rookie. His potential to become a regular linebacker is there and he will see time on the field as a rookie, but he will need a strong amount of coaching from former linebackers Jack Del Rio and Ken Norton Jr.

With that being said, here is his chance. He believes he is a sideline to sideline player that is going to do whatever is asked of him as a Raider, now it is all about proving it when he gets his shot on the field. He might be undersized, but he is the tenacious underdog that is exactly the type of player Raider Nation loves.