LAWRENCE, Kan. – The months since the 2014 regular season ended have been virtually nonstop for former Kansas Jayhawks inside linebacker Ben Heeney.
The native of Hutchinson, Kan., played in the East-West Shrine Game, attended the NFL Scouting Combine, and then capped it off Wednesday with Kansas’ Pro Day.
Heeney was among 15 former Jayhawk players working out in front of the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, San Diego Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams and Washington.
The 6-0, 231-pound Heeney totaled 19 bench press repetitions, the same amount he had at the Combine, before choosing to not participate in timed individual drills.
“I stand by my Combine numbers,” Heeney said. “I thought they were good enough.”
That would be an understatement after he opened eyes around the league with his showing in Indianapolis.
Heeney posted a 4.59 40-yard dash, the fourth-highest time among linebackers, at the Combine; his 6.68 time in the 3-cone drill ranked first; he posted a position-best 4.00 mark in the 5-10-5 Short Shuttle drill; and his 11.00 time in the 60-yard shuttle ranked first.
While he didn’t run Tuesday, the interest from teams was clear.
Heeney didn’t disclose all the teams he spoke to, but he has two scheduled workouts in the coming week.
“The Bucs are coming down to work out me and (cornerback) JaCorey (Shepherd) on the 27th and the Patriots are coming on the 31st,” he said. “Those are the two that are coming down right now to look at me. That’s about it right now.”
Heeney, who projects as a mid- to late-round draft pick, played in a 3-4 base defense his senior season at Kansas. And he said the feedback received from teams indicates his position, regardless of base defense, won’t change.
“Everyone sees me as kind of Mike (middle linebacker) or a Will (weakside) backer, so I’ll be inside somewhere,” Heeney said. “But I really don’t care. I’ve played in all of them. I’ve had three different defensive coordinators. I’ve played in a 3-4; I’ve played in a 4-3. I’m comfortable in any of them. I can play any position. I’m just confident. I’m just ready to get on a team and make an impact.”
Of course, there’s a team that incorporates a 3-4 base defense less than an hour from Lawrence.
The Chiefs didn’t interview Heeney at the Combine, but he was observed Tuesday talking to a Chiefs scout off to the side while players were running the 40-yard dash.
“He just told me they’ve seen everything they need to see about me,” Heeney said. “My game tape speaks for itself and I’m a guy that’s so close.”
Heeney, a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2014, said the message he received from the Chiefs is the team is fully aware of what he would offer after watching him perform the past three years.
The Chiefs already know Heeney totaled 127 tackles, which ranked second in the Big 12, during his senior season. He finished his career at Kansas with 335 tackles (218 solo), adding 4 ½ sacks, five passes defensed and three forced fumbles.
With the last major workout event in the books, Heeney can now officially shift focus to the NFL Draft, which kicks off April 30 and ends May 2.
A trip to Disney World isn’t on his schedule, but a well-deserved rest following months of continuous workouts is on the menu.
“This Pro Day and the Combine training takes a great toll on the body,” Heeney said. “May be taking a couple of days off just to get my body back feeling right, and start training again, getting ready for the draft.”
Jayhawks tight end Jimmay Mundine entered Tuesday with two goals: 20 bench press repetitions and a 4.5 40-yard dash.
Consider both areas done.
Mundine, who didn’t participate in the Combine, knocked out 20 bench press repetitions before moving outside in overcast, windy and 43-degree conditions.
While Kansas distributed his unofficial time at 4.60, Mundine was told differently.
“When I ran the first one into the wind, they got me at like a 4.62,” Mundine said. “I was pretty disappointed because I wanted to get a 4.5 or something like that. Then they said we were going to run it with the wind, and when I ran with the wind I got like a 4.56.”
Whether it’s a 4.56, 4.60 or 4.62 time, all marks qualified among the top tight end performers at the Combine. The 4.56 was good enough to nail the No. 1 spot, while the 4.60 and 4.62 ranked second behind Southern Illinois’ MyCole Pruitt’s 4.58.
The 6-1, 240-pound Mundine also looked good catching the ball during passing and receiving drills, dropping just one pass.
“Today I let it out,” he said. “I definitely maximized every number that I posted. There’s not anything I’m disappointed in. I’m proud of everything I’ve done. The only thing I’m disappointed in is that catch.”
Mundine, who projects as an H-back at the next level, said he didn’t talk to the Chiefs, but mentioned a lot of team came by and spoke to him.
One team, in particular, spent time with him on the field and indoors after the workout.
“I talked to the Lions a little bit after Pro Day and they came in and talked to me,” he said. “I’ll definitely have the opportunity, but I just need the shot.”
NOTES: The Chiefs had three personnel, led by director of player personnel Chris Ballard, at Kansas’ Pro Day … Cornerback Dexter McDonald, who measured 6-1, 205 pounds, posted a blazing 4.37 40-yard dash … McDonald’s time would’ve ranked as the second-best time among cornerbacks at the Combine … Safety Cassius Sendish posted a 4.50 40-yard dash … Wide receiver Nick Harwell, who measured 5-11, 193 pounds, posted a 4.40 40-yard dash time, the fastest among the four Kansas wide receivers participating in Pro Day … Cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, who did not run at the Combine due to a hamstring injury suffered in the days leading to the Senior Bowl, ran the 40-yard, but the school did not release a time on him … Shepherd declined to talk to the media after the workout … Tight end Charles Brooks, who last played for the Jayhawks in 2013, participated in the Pro Day workout … Brooks looked good catching the ball and didn’t drop a single pass.