We'll have much more reaction to the Pittsburgh Steelers' selection of Cameron Heyward, as well as all the other 31 picks in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but a quick post here for you all to start discussion what you think of the selection. Heyward, a defensive end out of Ohio State that we profiled here on Behind the Steel Curtain this afternoon, has a very interesting personal story that I think all of Steeler Nation will be inspired by. He's the son of former NFL running back Craig 'Ironhead' Heyward, a battering ram of a back who made a name for himself more from his off the field exploits than for what he did between the lines. Ironhead Heyward ultimately beat his drinking problems in the mid '90s, only to see his life taken from him by a brain tumor before he turned 40. The younger Heyward learned lots from the fast life his father lived, and from the sound of it, decided he wouldn't make similarly destructive personal choices in his own life. I don't see that changing even though he'll soon have a padded bank account and increased fame. Finally, as I'll outline soon enough, Heyward was one of the rare players who truly was a 'student-athlete' during his collegiate experience.
At 6'5", 294 pounds, Heyward projects quite well as a 3-4 defensive end. With Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith both over the age of 30 and dinged up with injuries in recent years, it made sense for the Steelers to use a high pick on a defensive lineman for the second time in three years. He'll provide immediate depth along John Mitchell's line in 2011, with the hope that he can slide into a starting role perhaps as soon as 2012.
As I mentioned, much more on the pick and the evening's proceedings, but for now we extend a Steeler Nation sized welcome to Cameron Heyward, the newest addition to the Steelers family!