When the Steelers broke camp at the conclusion of the 2010 Spring Training, first-round pick Maurkice Pouncey had impressed the coaching staff, and Mike Tomlin, more importantly, enough to earn the starting center position for the Steelers—a task not normally achieved by any Pittsburgh Steelers draft pick.
Pouncey went on to not only become the leader of the Steelers offensive line, but he also earned a trip to the Pro Bowl (even though he was injured, he still would have had to miss the game from injury. Pouncey still gets credit for a Pro Bowl appearance.)
Many members of Steelers Nation would be quick to point out that Pouncey was drafted on the offensive line, which most people believed was the weakest unit on the Steelers. It would be hard to argue that point.
In looking at the Steelers first-round pick from 2011, Cameron Heyward, there is no where near the need for him to contribute immediately. It was believed that Heyward would take his rookie season to watch and learn from Pro Bowl players such as Aaron Smith, Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel.
Being drafted in the first round normally means that you are there to fill a need. With two former Pro Bowl players ahead of you on the depth chart, and another first-round pick from two years earlier ahead of you, you would think that playing time would be at a minimum.
Like Pouncey the year before, Heyward showed during his first game with the Steelers against the Redskins, that he was not simply going to watch from the sidelines. He showed the Steelers that if they need to rest the "old guys," Smith and Keisel, that Heyward could be on the field without a loss of talent.