Steelers rookie grades: Kenny Pickett earns a below-average score in first season
Steelers got a chess piece in Heyward
Initial Grade: C-
Final Grade: A-
Criteria: Special Teams player
A player who blew my expectations out of the water, Connor Heyward looks like the real deal. When he was initially drafted, I figured he would be a fullback type of player, and frankly, I figured special teams would be his only real contributions if he had any as a rookie. Initially, that seemed to be the case, but Heyward’s play really excelled late in the season.
He totaled 174 offensive snaps to go along with 284 special teams snaps. On coverages, Heyward was consistent and made some impact tackles, totaling nine total on the season. That alone would have earned him a high “C” grade, as he was an impact player there from the get-go.
The Steelers got him involved on offense though, and he added 178 total yards and a score to his resume. For once in what seems like forever, the team actually used an atypical player well. He saw carries and was used in the vertical passing game. While Heyward will never be an elite offensive weapon, he has the makings of a core special teams player that can be a factor elsewhere. That is great value in the sixth round.