2011 NFL Draft Results: Pittsburgh Steelers Select Cameron Heyward in 1st Round

Joseph BrunoCorrespondent IApril 29, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 13:  Cameron Heyward #97 of the Ohio State Buckeyes chases after quarterback Matt McGloin #11 of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After months of debate and millions of mock drafts, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward with the 31st pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft.

Some thought that the Steelers would try to trade up and get Maurkice Pouncey’s brother, Mike Pouncey. Others, like me, thought they would take cornerback Aaron Williams.

I even thought the Steelers could possibly trade up to get cornerback Prince Amukamara when he slipped to the 19th pick and the New York Giants.

In the end the Steelers chose to go with Heyward, who is a perfect fit as a 3-4 defensive end and is versatile enough to play inside in certain defensive packages.

Heyward even showed the ability to drop into coverage with an interception and 80-yard return against the Miami Hurricanes.

His father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, was a former NFL running back who was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 1988 draft.

The Steelers continue to get younger on defense and add Heyward to 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood as the future of the defensive line.

Brett Keisel is solid and underrated, and Aaron Smith is still one of the best in the league when healthy. However, both are getting up there in age.

After not playing for much of his rookie year, Hood stepped in while Smith was injured last season, and the Steelers defense never missed a beat.

Hood showed that he is a future starter on the Steelers defensive line, and the team has the luxury to allow Cameron Heyward to take the same route and develop for a season.

Now that the Steelers have their future starters at defensive ends, they will look to find a guy on days two and three who they can develop behind defensive tackle Casey Hampton.

Who will they take?

I still have the feeling they wait until the later rounds to take a defensive tackle. However, we will just have to wait for the weekend to be over to find out. So far, I give the Steelers an A for taking Cameron Heyward in the first round.