2022 Stock Watch – DL Cameron Heyward – Stock Up

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers are deep into the season, it’s time to take stock of where the team stands. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the regular season as it plays out. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning for each one. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.

Player: DL Cameron Heyward

Stock Value: Up

Reasoning: The longest-tenured Steeler is coming off of one of his better games of the season in what should be another Pro Bowl campaign, finishing with his fifth sack of the year, a tackle for loss a quarterback hit, and a batted pass on what was an emotional day for the family.

Guys like Cameron Heyward don’t show up often in this series simply because they’re generally taken for granted, to be honest about it. They rarely have a bad game, and the good games are simply their base level of play, nothing special.

You can certainly argue that last week’s game for Heyward was ‘nothing special’ in that it was his typically high level of play, and you wouldn’t be wrong. He does so much that doesn’t even show up on the stat sheet, like drawing a pressure on a bull rush on the Minkah Fitzpatrick interception, that it can be hard to talk about sometimes.

But we really shouldn’t take it for granted. After all, these careers don’t last forever and it’s certainly no given that even the greats can continue to play at a high level long into their 30s. But when a guy is getting third-down sacks and things like that, it matters.

He also had three tackles against the run, including a stop on 3rd and 3 for two yards, although the Falcons ended up going for it on 4th and 1 and converting (running opposite of Heyward’s side of the field, I would add).

One thing I did want to note when I decided to write this article is the fact that Heyward only played 33 snaps on defense in that game in Atlanta, under two thirds of the team’s total. That was comfortably his lowest share of snaps since the opener, an overtime affair in which he still saw 57 snaps.

He’s been under 70 percent of the snaps in three of the past five games, so the Steelers are finding ways to get him breathers, which is key. Or at least it would be if they were going to have a postseason game to play. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. But they’re keeping his legs, which is more we can usually say.

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