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Mel Kiper Jr. weighs in on Buckeye draft hopefuls

Cody Cousino / Asst. multimedia editor

ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. talked about Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, as well as three former OSU players hoping to hear their names called during the draft in a teleconference on Wednesday.

Kiper said he knows what scouts need to see from Pryor in his final season.

“Accuracy,” Kiper said. “Throwing the football is the main thing.

“He has to throw the ball, and he has to be precise with the football, and he has to do the things from a pure passing standpoint.”

Pryor’s final season, however, will be shortened by the five-game suspension he and four of his teammates face.

Kiper added that he projects Pryor as a tight end at the next level, citing Pryor’s size, athletic ability and the transitions other players have made over the years.

“Did he need to play those five games to prove he can be a quarterback? Yeah, he did,” Kiper said. “I think there is going to be some concern whether he is going to be a quarterback or a position change, like I said, to a tight end spot.”

Defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, a projected first-round pick, also was a subject of conversation.

“Cameron Heyward is a real, real good 3-4 defensive end,” Kiper said. “I think he’d fit the New York Jets and certainly the Green Bay Packers. He would fit the Pittsburgh Steelers … the New England Patriots, any of those 3-4 teams is what Heyward would fit ideally.”

The Jets, Steelers, and Packers pick 30th, 31st and 32nd respectively, while the Patriots hold the 17th and 28th overall selections.

Kiper said Heyward is not an ideal fit in a 4-3 defensive scheme, but Heyward disagrees.

“I think over my four years here I have enjoyed so many different positions and it’s made me more versatile,” Heyward said in a press conference on March 30 after working out for NFL scouts. “I think I can play any position you put me at.”

Kiper weighed in on two other Buckeyes entering the draft.

Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa was projected as a possible third-round selection, and running back Brandon Saine was projected as one of many backs who could be picked on the third day in the fifth, sixth or seventh rounds, based on his pass-catching ability.

The 2011 NFL draft will be held April 28–30 at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

Alex Kopilow contributed to this story.

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