One of the several reasons why the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense is one of the most potent in the league is its speed. Like the old saying, speed kills, and you can either match it or you can’t.
According to Next Gen Stats, Martavis Bryant and Darrius Heyward-Bey cracked the NFL’s top-ten speeds of 2015. Bryant came in 4th place, once reaching a top speed of 22.3 miles per hour. Heyward-Bey is 9th at 22.01.
It’s no surprise to see either on the list. Bryant ran a 4.42 at the NFL Combine in 2014 while DHB turned in a 4.30 in 2009, one of the fastest official times ever in Indianapolis.
That combination of blocking ability and speed is what still gives DHB a ton of value to the Steelers. He’s usually inserted into heavy run sets because he’s the best blocker while still being a threat to defenses vertically. Stack the box and you’re risking getting him one-on-one with a corner. Over the last two weeks, he’s even been occasionally sprinkled into the team’s 11 personnel. On the year, he has 18 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns, though that also includes only one grab since mid-October.
Leading the Next Gen list is Atlanta Falcons’ cornerback Robert Alford and Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver John Brown, each clocking in at 22.60 mph. The Cardinals are also the only other team with multiple players on the top ten with David Johnson joining Brown.