The Pittsburgh Steelers ‘defensive end Cameron Heyward becomes the first member of the team to appear on Pro Football Focus’ list of top 50 players.
PFF’s rankings are what they want players to see in 2021, not for their 2020 performance. The first Steeler to make the list is Heyward, who sits at number 31.
The later he gets into his career, the better Heyward seems to be playing. His top four seasons for PFF grade were his last four seasons, and Aaron Donald is the only internal lineman to have a higher overall PFF grade as of 2019.
The longtime Steeler’s 75 defensive stops top all of the players in his position over the same seven-day period, and he’s only on Donald in terms of total pressure. The Los Angeles Rams star is in a world of its own, but Heyward has arguments for being considered the best center-back without Donald in the NFL – and that’s an impressive feat.
Heyward, 32, is entering his eleventh season with the Steelers. Last season, the defensive captain was named second-team All-Pro and made it to his fourth Pro Bowl in a row.
Heyward is not expected to be the senior Steeler in the top 50. TJ Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick should be pretty high on the list. Najee Harris, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Devin Bush and Chase Claypool could also make surprising appearances.
Noah Strackbein is a publisher at AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack and AllSteelers @si_steelers.
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