New York Defenders – LB Ben Heeney
The Defenders were led on defense by their middle linebacker, Ben Heeney. Heeney had nine total tackles in his first game as a pro for the New York-based squad and was the star in the middle, flying around the middle of the field. The former 5th round pick by the Oakland Raiders couldn’t catch on with the league, bouncing around from the Raiders, to the New Orleans Saints, then to the Houston Texans over the course of four seasons.
Now with the Defenders, Heeney has a chance to prove he can be a starter in the NFL. He and the next player on this list were two of the three key reasons the team played so well. Coming out of Kansas University, Henney has found himself one of the faces of the Defenders, appearing alongside starting quarterback Matt McGloin. There’s a good reason for this, as Heeney seemed to be in on every play in his first game against the Vipers.
Heeney is a fast player to boot, clocking in at 4.59 for the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine. He’s not just fast but he could be a scheme wonder for the Browns, as he’s fast enough to play outside in the flats in a 4-3 and a good enough tackler to move inside for a 3-4. It’s still not clear what defense the Browns will run in 2020, so it’s good to find players who can do both.
Heeney isn’t a guy you want to rely on to replace a Joe Schobert or a Christian Kirksey but if you’re forced to look for some affordable options to fill holes or in need to replace a guy while not breaking the bank, Heeney could be the kind of player to do just that.