James Hearns

Louisville
EDGE

Prospect Info

College
Louisville
Hometown
Class
Tallahassee, FL
r-Senior
Height
Weight
Arms
6' 3"
239 lbs
32 1/2”
Hands
9 3/8”

Prospect Grade

4.97
Should Be in an NFL Training Camp
How We Grade
40 Yard Dash
4.89
Seconds
 
Bench Press
22
Reps
 
Vertical Jump
--
INCHES
 
Broad Jump
--
INCHES
 
3 Cone Drill
--
Seconds
 
20 Yd Shuttle
--
Seconds
 
60 Yd Shuttle
--
Seconds
 
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While many believed Devonte Fields would be the Cardinals' top pass rusher in 2016, Hearns actually earned that title, looking strong on the edge and showing a burst to the quarterback. He was an honorable mention All-ACC selection after making 43 stops, 11 for loss, eight sacks, and five forced fumbles (tied for fifth in the FBS) on the year. Hearns' year did not end on a happy note, however, as he was shot in the elbow at an off-campus apartment while celebrating his teammate, Lamar Jackson's winning of the Heisman Trophy. Hearns only started eight of 13 games played in 2017, but still made 42 stops, 13.5 for loss, seven sacks, three pass breakups, and four forced fumbles. His career started off slowly despite being a top 200 prospect nationally, with an injury ending his true freshman season just two games in. Hearns played just two games in his redshirt freshman season, as well, before finally getting a chance as a reserve the following year (12 tackles in 12 games, including three stops in the Music City Bowl).
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst
Draft Projection
Round 7/PFA
NFL Comparison
"He's got some (character) stuff. That could hurt him but we will see what he says in Combine interviews. I think he can go, though. Good rusher. Rushers always hang around in the league." -- AFC Personnel Executive
Overview
Hearns is a difficult projection due to the dichotomy between good and bad in his game. On one hand, Hearns plays with extreme lower body tightness that seeps into his run defense, change of direction and ability to bend the edge. On the other hand, he plays with athletic (albeit upright) rush movements and quality hand play that create sack opportunities for him. A team may be willing to bet on the rush talent and look past what he struggles with, but he'll need to become a productive special teams player to stick long term.
Strengths
  • Plays with talented hands with quickness like a boxer
  • Pass rush features rapid-fire combinations used to probe for openings or soften the edge
  • Uses basketball movements as upfield rusher
  • Effective use of head-fakes, speed variance and jump cuts to attack half man
  • Plays with good situational awareness
  • Quick to recognize play-action and jump into the quarterback's face
  • Impressive total of nine forced fumbles over last two seasons despite playing in less than 65 percent of defensive snaps
  • Possesses straight-line burst
  • Good zone awareness when asked to drop into space
Weaknesses
  • Tight hips force him into linear playing style
  • Straight-legged and upright in his play
  • Lacks bend to sink and anchor when setting an edge
  • Easy to widen out
  • Too many strength and leverage deficiencies to withstand NFL run blocking
  • Inside pass rush counters are too easy to wash away due to poor pad level
  • Below-average contact balance
  • Finds himself on the grass
  • Average at stringing rush moves together
  • Hands are quick but lack punch behind them
  • Poor change of direction
  • Can't bend and come to balance as open field tackler

News

Path to the Draft

Final quick-snap 2018 NFL Draft grades for all 32 teams

Best and most worrisome picks from the 2018 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from Round 1 of the 2018 NFL Draft

Winners and losers from Rounds 2, 3 of the 2018 NFL Draft

GRADE
9.00-10
Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99
Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99
Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49
Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99
Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49
Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99
Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49
NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19
Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00
50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99
Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74
Chance to be in an NFL training camp
NO GRADE
Likely needs time in developmental league