Steelers make history with additional family ties following the NFL Draft
By Tommy Jaggi
The Pittsburgh Steelers have got a thing for both NFL bloodlines and family loyalty. Here’s why they made history again during the 2022 NFL Draft.
Finding sets of brothers who are good enough to play in the NFL at the same time is very rare. It’s not hard to see why. Only the absolute best of the best are fortunate enough to play at the highest level of professional football in the world and most very good college players are looking for employment shortly after declaring for the NFL Draft.
While sets of brothers playing in the NFL is something we have seen in the past, it’s rare that they would land on the same team. The Pittsburgh Steelers made history in 2021 when they had not one, not two, but three sets of brothers all on their roster at the same time.
These included T.J. and Derek Watt, Terrell and Trey Edmunds, and Carlos and Khalil Davis (Carlos’s twin brother was added just last year after injuries to the defensive line). This is something that was quite unheard of.
However, Pittsburgh apparently didn’t see it fit to quit here. With their sixth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Steelers selected Michigan State H-back, Connor Heyward. This selection saw Pittsburgh making history once again — this time with four sets of brothers on the same team.
As you probably already heard (or were at least able to connect the dots), Connor is the younger brother of Steelers All-Pro Cameron Heyward. Despite roughly a decade separating the two brothers in age, Cam and Connor will play together on the same NFL team — something they probably only dreamed of doing.
Now both T.J. Watt and Cameron Heyward (arguably the two best players on the team) each have their brothers on the roster. Is this just a coincidence? I think not. Though this certainly appeases big brother, this raises more questions than anything else.
Steelers have a dilemma on their hands
I love the way that Pittsburgh does business… most of the time. When it comes to certain things, however, they have a tendency to be loyal to a fault.
I get it. It has to be hard to find the right balance between building relationships and making business decisions. In the past, the Steelers have handed out contract extensions to aging players without having a good enough reason to justify doing so — knowing full well that they weren’t going to be as good in their final NFL seasons.
When it comes to the Connor Heyward selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, I actually like the player. I think Heyward was worth a draft selection as an H-back who can do a little bit of everything — block on the move, catch, and even run. That’s all assuming that a team uses him right.
What I don’t understand is why. Apart from doing Cam a favor by adding his little brother to the team, I have a hard time understanding the pick.
The fullback role that belonged to Derek Watt now looks like a two-dogs, one-bone situation. Watt wasn’t necessarily bad for Pittsburgh, but he was rarely used on offense — just 86 snaps on offense last year, according to Pro Football Reference. This could have been more of Ben Roethlisberger’s personnel grouping preference than anything else.
Until we see them in action, it’s hard to envision a scenario where Watt and Heyward both make the team as their role on offense and special teams essentially seem interchangeable.
As of right now, the Steelers have four sets of brothers on their team. However, that might not be the case come September. It will be interesting to see what the plan is moving forward.