NFL Draft 2011: Pittsburgh Steelers Earn High Marks for Cameron Heyward

Chris Gazze@ChrisG_PITCorrespondent 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

the 31st selection finally rolled around in the first round of the NFL draft, many believed that the Pittsburgh Steelers may finally address their need at cornerback.

Those same people probably aren't accustomed to the Steelers' draft process.

Even though two of the top five cornerbacks had been available in Brandon Harris and Aaron Williams, one thing that Pittsburgh does not do is overdraft for need.

Both players are labeled by many as second-round selections. There appeared to be enough deficiencies in their respective games to avoid using a first-round selection on them.

Out of the top prospects that Pittsburgh showed interest in prior to the draft, only Derek Sherrod, the offensive tackle from Mississippi State and Cameron Heyward, defensive end from Ohio State remained.

Sherrod could have been able to sit a year behind Flozell Adams and learned the game before moving into the starting role at right tackle, but Heyward had a much higher upside in the Steelers' eyes.

Heyward is a big and physical defensive end, at nearly 6'5" and 294 pounds.

He generates a pass rush from the right defensive end position and is excellent defending the run.

Though criticized for an up and down senior season, Heyward could flat-out dominate at times.

Son of former NFL player, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, the younger Heyward has the NFL in his blood, the right work ethic and the character that makes him a perfect fit for the Steelers.

While he might not be able to cover wide receivers, Heyward will help the linebackers get to the quarterback and ensure that the Steelers have a top defensive line—paired with 2009 first-round pick Ziggy Hood—for years to come.

Heyward was the top player available for the Steelers and they didn't mess around.

Pittsburgh earns an A for their first-round pick.


You can follow Chris G. on Twitter @ChrisG_FC.