The Pittsburgh Steelers added to their family circle this off-season when they selected tight end Connor Heyward in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The brother of star lineman Cameron Heyward, Connor’s addition creates the fourth sibling duo on the team now. The Heyward’s now join Trey and Terrell Edmunds, as well as TJ and Derek Watt, and Khalil and Carlos Davis.
In the weeks leading up to the draft, Connor Heyward was a popular pick in mock drafts for the Steelers. The organization has shown to value family roots and NFL pedigrees over the years. That proved true once again when Heyward’s name was called to Pittsburgh in the sixth round. With that being said, Connor’s been adamant that he’s more than just Cameron’s brother.
Ahead of training camp, ESPN did surprise standouts from the off-season thus far for all 32 NFL teams. For the Steelers, Connor Heyward was the selection with this to say:
“It’s hard to be truly under the radar as Cam Heyward’s younger brother, but the rookie Heyward impressed in off-season workouts and showed a chemistry with first-round quarterback Kenny Pickett in a nice snag during a two-minute drill in minicamp. Heyward, selected in the sixth round, figures to be in a hybrid tight end/fullback role in an offense that values versatility in its skill players. Because he has been working mostly with tight ends and receivers, Heyward probably won’t be competing for the fullback roster spot with Derek Watt, making it likely both find roles on the 2022 team. — Brooke Pryor”
That selection came courtesy of Brooke Pryor, the Steelers beat reporter for ESPN. As she mentioned, Heyward seems to have a versatile role within the offense in 2022. Of course, he has to survive all of the roster cuts and make the team first. Sixth round draft picks are far from guarantees to make the final roster, as their chances are in fact under 50%. Heyward does seem to already have a leg up though in the fact that his brother is on the roster. That’s not to say he won’t have to prove himself, but it certainly won’t hurt his chances. In fact, he’s already discussed that he’s in Pittsburgh to prove he’s more than just Cam’s brother.
Pryor additionally mentioned the fact that Heyward has mostly been working with the wide receivers and tight ends. This slots him as the likely No. 3 tight end heading into the season, behind sophomore Pat Freiermuth along with Zach Gentry. People have speculated that the selection of Heyward could potentially mean the end for fullback Derek Watt, but Pryor certainly doesn’t think so.
Will Steelers keep both Derek Watt and Connor Heyward?
While Watt’s looks at fullback have diminished the past few seasons, he remains a vital member of the team for multiple reasons. Head coach Mike Tomlin values his special teams guys, and Derek Watt is one of those. He’s been one of the Steelers’ better special teams guys, something that’s not easy to replicate or replace. Additionally, he provides some leadership to a team that possesses one of the younger offenses in the NFL.
What do you guys think about Connor Heyward? Will he provide an impact on the team in 2022? Do you think both him and Derek Watt will make the team? Let us know your opinions in the comment section below!
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