Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Preseason Game #2

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Nov 8, 2014; Lawrence, KS, USA; Kansas Jayhawks linebacker Ben Heeney (31) celebrates a missed field goal by the Iowa State Cyclones in the second half at Memorial Stadium. Kansas won the game 34-14. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

9. Ben Heeney Is Legit

He’s not the biggest, fastest, or strongest on the field, but Ben Heeney continues to prove that what you can’t measure are heart and grit. The fifth round pick really caught the attention of the coaching staff through the offseason work and has carried that over into the preseason where he’s been shining.

He led the Raiders in tackles against the Rams with eight and he also recorded a sack. Against the Vikings, he added seven more tackles and combined with second round pick Mario Edwards Jr. on a strip sack of Minnesota quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

Heeney has been compared favorably to former Miami Dolphins standout Zach Thomas both for their size and their style of play, which can be described in a single word – relentless. If Heeney can go on to have the type of career that Thomas did – 7 Pro Bowls, 5 first team All Pro nods, and a member of the 2000 All-Decade Team – the Raiders, not to mention their fans, would be more than thrilled.

Heeney is not going to supplant free agent acquisition Curtis Lofton in the middle of the Raiders’ defense, but he will be a solid rotational guy and will provide some spark and life into that unit when called upon.

Next: A Second Round Bust?