Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season is over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we turn our attentions to the offseason and everything that means. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: DL Cameron Heyward
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: While Heyward was inexplicably left off of both the Pro Bowl and All-Pro lists this season, that does not take away from the strong season he had, and certainly not from the way he finished it. The big man had two sacks, eight tackles, two tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and a batted pass in the finale against Deshaun Watson and the Cleveland Browns, finishing the year with another 10-sack campaign.
I want to make one thing clear for the moment. This particular article is going to be about Cameron Heyward in the regular season finale, primarily. This is not a season-long analysis, although the value will be the same. I want to wait until Monday before I start hitting season review-type stock evaluations.
And I’m not sure many players ended their season on a higher individual note than Heyward did this year as a dominant presence against the Cleveland Browns. He seemed to be in the backfield as often as Browns running back Nick Chubb was.
I do want to hit one note about Heyward’s season overall. He recorded multiple sacks in three of his final four games of the season, which is pretty impressive. His snap count also crept upward after the Falcons game. He was averaging probably about 75 percent of the snaps before then, and after, it was over 85 percent.
He knew he couldn’t rest, and he played like it. He really played like a man on a mission, trying to be what the Steelers needed him to be to help them sneak into the postseason. Outside of some very questionable penalty calls in the last two weeks, he played some of his best football of the entire season with their backs up against the wall.
The finale against the Browns was certainly no exception, even if for some reason outlets like Pro Football Focus seem to think so—but it’s always advisable to take their number grading with a couple grains of salt. They’re useful for reminding you to look beyond the box score, but it’s best that you take that look yourself rather than have someone else do it for you.