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: DT Cameron Heyward
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The stalwart defender had perhaps his best game of the year on Saturday against the Las Vegas Raiders, maybe even one of the best games of his career, continuing to prove that his failure to be elected to the Pro Bowl outright for the 2022 season was nothing short of an old-fashioned snub.
I’m going to be honest here. I don’t know if even head coach Mike Tomlin takes the Steelers’ wins and losses as seriously as Cameron Heyward does. He is in every sense a captain of this team and all of the sense of responsibility that comes with it.
He showed that on Saturday night in his play, taking over the game in stretches and almost willing his team to victory. That performance included two sacks, two quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, and a pass defensed, with seven total tackles.
He was everywhere on the night and a menace for the Raiders’ offensive line, though that’s not unfamiliar territory for the otherwise perennial Pro Bowler. It’s hard to imagine that he still wouldn’t have gotten in had the voting wrapped up one week later to account for this performance.
It’s rare for a perennial Pro Bowler to lose his spot when he’s still performing at a high level, as Heyward had done this season even before the last outing. The only reason that this isn’t the best season in his career is simply because he’s had an excellent career.
All you need to know about Heyward is how emotional he was after that win. He puts everything into this team in an effort to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl. That win keeps their hopes alive for another week.
There’s no tanking there. Not in that family. He watched his little brother seal the win with a first-down run, the first carry of his career on a jet sweep. Winning Super Bowls for the Steelers has become a family enterprise. Only even further motivation for him to give everything he has to this game, which he absolutely does.