Things have been rather rough the last few weeks for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive front seven, but one constant remains, and that’s one Cameron Heyward.
Despite the struggles to stop the run overall as a team, Heyward has shown what it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler week after week, providing plenty of effort and leadership to a defensive front that has been decimated by injuries. Though his production hasn’t quite been what it was in previous seasons (through no fault of his own), Heyward continues to garner star recognition across the NFL.
That recognition rolled in again earlier in the week as Heyward was named to Pro Football Focus’s Third Quarter All-Pro team by PFF’s Sam Monson.
Through 13 weeks of the season, Heyward has been arguably the Steelers’ best player, right there with T.J. Watt. Heyward continues to create a significant amount of pressure on quarterbacks this season and dominates week to week in the trenches.
“Heyward is threatening to post the best season grade of his career as he approaches his 33rd birthday,” Monson writes. “His overall mark sits at 91.3, trailing only Aaron Donald among interior defenders. His career-high grade is 91.5 from the 2019 season, and simply maintaining his current level of play would see him eclipse that figure by the end of the season. He has 43 total pressures and 29 defensive stops to his name while leading all interior linemen in batted passes (six) this year.”
It’s hard to argue with Heyward landing on PFF’s First Team All-Pro list for the third quarter of the season.
He’s a special player that is making a case for the Hall of Fame at this point, so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the veteran defensive lineman is garnering accolades like this even with the Steelers’ defensive front around him struggling.
Could you imagine where the Steelers’ defense would be without a guy like Heyward in the trenches? It’s a scary thing to think about.
Aside from Heyward on PFF’s first team, Watt and kicker Chris Boswell were named to the Third Quarter second team, with Watt placing behind Cleveland’s Myles Garrett, and Boswell landing behind Baltimore’s Justin Tucker.