Ranking every Steelers first-round draft pick of the Mike Tomlin era

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90)
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Cameron Heyward, 2011 first-round pick

At this point, Cameron Heyward has a viable shot at moving into second place on this list. Despite being older, Heyward’s play is still dominant. If he can put together a few more top-level seasons, he can see his ranking move up. As well, that will greatly strengthen his case to eventually make it to the Hall of Fame.

Heyward spent four seasons at Ohio State, and he was a primary starter for most of his career. He wasn’t a sack monster in school, only registering 15.5 total in his four seasons in school. He was a competent defender that shot gaps well and disrupted plays in the backfield. The Steelers landed him at the end of the first round of the 2011 draft.

While it took a few seasons, Heyward became everything that Hood didn’t. He consistently dominated the line of scrimmage and has become a bully to opposing offensive linemen. His play has seemingly improved as he has gotten older, as he has added to his repertoire of pass-rushing moves.

Nothing can take away from his strength though. It was his calling card early and still is today. Heyward’s bull rush is second to none, and he still makes an impact every week for the Steelers. He was a great selection in the first round and has become an all-time great for this team.