Nov 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward (97) against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Free Agent Spotlight: DE Cameron Heyward


CORRECTION = CAMERON HEYWARD IS NOT A FREE AGENT

Now, please enjoy a post about Cam’s career so far with the Steelers and let’s overlook the whole talk about him being a free agent, shall we?

In keeping with the defensive line unit the next free agent we’ll take a look at is Cameron Heyward. Heyward is entering his fourth year of his NFL career.

Heyward was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2011 draft out of Ohio State. He didn’t start on the defensive line until this past season, starting 13 games. In his three previous seasons he has totaled 90 tackles, 7.5 sacks and one forced fumble. This season, he tied for second on the team with five sacks, impressive in his first starting season.

Bob Labriola of the Steelers Digest describes Heyward as “a player around whom the Steelers can build their next generation of defense.” He improved greatly over the course of the 2013 season, which is obviously mostly due to the fact that this season is the most playing time he has gotten over the course of his career.

Heyward saw little playing time his first two seasons but has yet to miss a game due to injury so far in his NFL career. He came into the 2013 season focused on earning a more prominent position in the starting defensive line and eventually earned his chance to start at left defensive end over Ziggy Hood. In that position he started to thrive and show signs that he could very well be, as Labriola describes, the building block in which the Steelers defense can be built moving forward.

This is an easy decision, in my opinion, for the Steelers front office to re-sign the soon-to-be 25-year old. Heyward’s arrow is definitely pointed up and the Steelers can’t afford to have to replace the entire line. If say they can’t afford to keep Keisel and it looks as if Hood might as well be on his way out, Heyward is the player most needed to build the defense on in the future anyway.

What are your thoughts, Steeler Nation? Do you see Heyward remaining a Steeler?

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Tags: Cameron Heyward Featured Nfl Free Agency Pittsburgh Steelers Popular Steelers Defense

  • Steve Wade

    4 years is 3 years too long let heyward and hood leave and start young. A cb would be nice too.

    • Kimmy

      Heyward has only played 3 seasons and only really started in one season this past year, in which he excelled. How much younger should they go on line if you want them to not sign Heyward who won’t be 25 till May? This is the one defensive lineman the Steelers really can’t afford not to re-sign.

      • Steve Wade

        Sorry not a big heyward fan $$$ should go elsewhere imo.

        • Shawn Winbush

          Heyward is not a bust.you cannot blame the man for the coaching staff a) not wanting to make him a starter a proven veteran Keisel, and b) not wanting to admit that Hood wasn’t as good as they perceived. Heyward was a force this year,and if you can’t see the potential in him, I don’t know what you’re looking at frankly.Heyward established not only as a talent,but a leader….who else are you going to start over him? or is your savior in the draft? please share…

          • Chris Doakes

            Listen Shawn Winbush that Steve wade character don’t know nothing about football more then likely never played the game don’t even listen to a guy with idiotic comments.

        • William Cross

          Thank goodness your opinion doesn’t matter since you don’t seem to know much.

          • [email protected]

            OUCHH!!!!

    • [email protected]

      Steve Wade – agree on the cornerback but Heyward was never given a real chance for the first 3 years, so in essence this last year was ‘year 1′ for him.

  • Steve Wade

    I hate watching the steelers get “no” pass rush at all when they get spread out and rush 3 or 4… embarrassing. Hood and heyward,mendenhall=bust .. jones and decastro better break out soon.

    • Craig

      Wait, what? Heyward a bust?

  • Steve Wade

    Just my opinion. But first full year as a starter and the steelers ranked 21st in rush defense “which never happens” is not moving in the right direction. You either got I or you dont heyward and ziggy hood in my opinion are below average at best. Regrettably

    • Craig

      Heyward started the season as a backup lineman. Various injuries to the line got him some playing time and starts after week 3. Then finally worked his way in as a full time starter a few weeks later. Heyward had 54 tackles and five sacks over eight games in the second half of the season. That was better than any other lineman on the team. He has huge upswing by season’s end. I believe he’s better than average and will be even better next season. Now, if he’s not – then yeah I’ll ride the BUST train.

      • Steve Wade

        Im a steeler fan so I hope your right. No money till then.

  • Adam Folk

    People who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Cameron Heyward’s situation is exactly the same as Worilds’s. Didn’t get enough playing time his first few years, will have a breakout season in the final year of his contract, and then the steelers will be forced to pay him big money. Lock him up at a discount price now or pay for it later.