NFL Draft profile: Ryan Hewitt

Ryan Hewitt, Fullback

Alter ego: “Gruden’s favorite.” Not many people have gotten mad Andrew Luck’s performance on the football field, but Jon Gruden took offense to Luck ignoring Hewitt on the now-infamous Spider 3 Y Banana play.

CBSSports.com projection: 7th round/undrafted

Cardinal career: Hewitt came to the Farm as a tight end, but was converted to fullback during the last year of predecessor Owen Marecic’s career because he was the shortest member of his stacked position group — at 6-foot-4. After backing up Marecic in all 13 games in 2010, Hewitt would start for three straight years and bring a new flavor to the Cardinal’s already distinctive offense, adding his pass-catching abilities to the smashmouth identity of the fullback position.

Unfortunately, Hewitt has been on the field for some of the more forgettable plays in recent Stanford football memory: Luck’s pix-six on Spider 2 Y Banana in 2011, an errant throw by Kevin Hogan on a fourth-down pass to Hewitt at Oregon in 2012 and Michigan State’s fourth-and-1 stop of Hewitt late in the Rose Bowl to end his college career. But his blocking abilities have paved the way for a pair of 1,500-yard rushers in Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney, and his playmaking has been an added dimension in the years since Marecic, the quintessential Cardinal fullback.

Pro stock: Hewitt’s integral role in Stanford’s pro-style offense — and his well-established versatility — are major pluses for NFL scouts. He earned an invitation to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine, where he worked out as a running back and not as a tight end. Hewitt’s speed (a 4.87 40-yard dash at the Combine) may be seen as a weakness, but he’s still expected to be a late-round draft pick and to have his shot at the next level.

Highlights: Hewitt converted a critical fourth-and-1 against Oregon in 2012 as Stanford came back to force overtime.

And early in the Pac-12 Championship Game, Hewitt accidentally went in motion but turned the mistake — which would have cost the Cardinal five yards — into six points, setting a crucial block on Tyler Gaffney’s game-opening touchdown.

Contact Joseph Beyda at jbeyda ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Joseph Beyda

Joseph Beyda is the editor in chief of The Stanford Daily. Previously he has worked as the executive editor, webmaster, football editor, a sports desk editor, the paper's summer managing editor and a beat reporter for football, baseball and women's soccer. He co-authored The Daily's recent football book, "Rags to Roses," and covered the soccer team's national title run for the New York Times. Joseph is a senior from Cupertino, Calif. majoring in Electrical Engineering. To contact him, please email jbeyda "at" stanford.edu.