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 Nfl Free Agency Pittsburgh Steelers Steelers Defense

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