With training camp now less than two weeks away from beginning, we have started running our annual polls asking you to vote on whether or not certain Pittsburgh Steelers players who are perceived as being on the bubble will ultimately make the final 53 man roster out of training camp.
We’ve already had you vote on three players and you can find links to those polls along with the results of each below. Today, we will discuss wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and have you vote on his future.
2014 Season Recap:
After signing a one-year contract with the Steelers last offseason, Heyward-Bey made the team’s final 53 man roster initially as the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart behind Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, Justin Brown and Lance Moore. Moore, however, missed the Steelers first two games with an injury and that allowed Heyward-Bey to see some early playing time on offense as rookie Martavis Bryant wasn’t quite ready to receive a helmet.
Including the Steelers one playoff game, Heyward-Bey played a total of 147 snaps on offense in 2014 and that resulted in just 4 catches for 39 yards. In the game against the Indianapolis Colts, however, Heyward-Bey fumbled after his lone reception and that ultimately resulted in a touchdown. He also suffered one drop in the game against the New York Jets.
Heyward-Bey was also a primary player on special teams in 2014 for the Steelers. Official NFL stats credit him with four total tackles on special teams and while not a high amount, he appeared to play his role well for coach Danny Smith as his speed was an asset on the coverage units.
Now that Bryant has easily passed Heyward-Bey on the Steelers wide receiver depth chart, the veteran and former first-round draft pick will once again have to earn a spot on the 53 man roster during training camp. However, the fact that Moore was released early in the offseason works in his favor as rookie draft pick Sammie Coates will more than likely need a little seasoning before being given a helmet on Sundays.
Regardless of the depth chart order, Heyward-Bey will once again be expected to be a core special teams player in his second season with the team.
As far as the competition that Heyward-Bey will face this summer, that will likely come in the form of the inexperienced C.J. Goodwin and Shakim Phillips. Goodwin spent the entire 2014 season on the Steelers practice squad so his development during training camp and the preseason will need to be monitored closely. Especially his play on special teams as that figures to be a key aspect in him or Phillips being able to knock Heyward-Bey off of the roster.
Vote below and tell us the reason why you voted the way that you did in the comments.