clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2022 NFL Draft Results: Pittsburgh Steelers select Michigan State TE Connor Heyward with 6th Round pick

The Pittsburgh Steelers have selected Michigan State Connor Heyward with their 6th Round pick in the 2022 draft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Pitt v Michigan State Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Entering the 2022 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers had a number of draft needs they needed to address. Unlike in 2021, where the decreased salary cap caused the team to lean on their rookies early, the Steelers possessed a full allotment of draft picks without any glaring needs on their roster.

With seven total picks, the following positions could be viewed as a priority entering the selection process: quarterback, safety, offensive tackle, pass rusher, wide receiver and even inside linebacker. Those positions, and more, were positions of need to help the black-and-gold get to the next level in 2022. There have been numerous thoughts and debates regarding what the team will do in Round 1 of the NFL Draft.

Friday night the Steelers selected Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick out of the University of Pittsburgh, so the need at quarterback was off the board. With their first pick on Day 2, the Steelers took George Pickens, wide receiver from Georgia, which took the pass catcher off the team need list.

On Day 2, Round 3, when the dust settled, the Steelers selected Texas A&M defender DeMarvin Leal, with their third pick in the draft.

Heading into Day 3, the Steelers still had needs to meet and their 4th round pick of Memphis wide receiver Calvin Austin helped answer some of those questions at the slot wide receiver position.

With their sixth round pick, the Steelers selected Michigan State TE/RB Connor Heyward with their fifth pick of the draft process.

Heyward, who is Cam’s brother, is more of an H-back than tight end or full back. In the Matt Canada offense Heyward certainly can have a large role on the team as a blocker, pass catcher and even runner.

For those who want to know more about Heyward, here is what the BTSC Big Board had on the former Michigan State H-back:

Andrew Wilbar: The brother of Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, Connor is a fairly athletic fullback who can be used as a runner, blocker, and receiver. Heyward was used as a running back his first four seasons at Michigan State, but he willingly changed positions and played the role of an H-back. He is listed as a tight end on the Spartans’ website, but he will most definitely be considered a fullback headed into the NFL. Heyward is a good blocker who, much like his brother, displays great effort and toughness on every down. Just to give insight as to how versatile he is, Michigan State used him as a kick returner his first two seasons in Lansing as well as making him a rotational running back. As a blocker, Heyward plays to the whistle and beats his opponents with physicality. I wanted Ben Mason in last year’s draft, but if the Steelers decide to part ways with Derek Watt, perhaps Cam Heyward will be the next Steeler to have a family member join him on the team.

For a scouting report on Austin, here is an in-depth analysis per NFL.com:

Former running back turned H-back with surprisingly sticky hands and a determined demeanor to find additional yardage after the catch. Heyward fails the pregame eyeball test as a shorter player with a paunchy upper body and a lack of length. However, he catches everything and his tape is filled with good football plays. He has move-blocking potential but is not schooled-up enough in that area for a team to trust him at this point. Heyward’s draft stock might be limited due to his lack of physical traits, but he’s a natural football player who might find a roster spot thanks to his versatility.

Strengths

  • Former running back who provides potential run/catch versatility.
  • Plays through route redirection with good strength.
  • Hands are natural, strong and quick.
  • Has highlight-reel catches outside the frame dating back to 2018.
  • Running back instincts and acceleration as a target in the screen game.
  • Accelerates quickly and finishes powerfully after the catch.
  • Adequate radar as move blocker.
  • Experience with punt coverage and kick returns.

Weaknesses

  • Top-heavy build lacks proportion and desired musculation.
  • One-speed route runner.
  • Very little juice getting in and out of breaks.
  • Minimal depth of target as college pass-catcher.
  • Requires additional control and technique as a blocker.
  • Lacks coordination of hands and feet at point of attack.
  • Missing length and mass to control an NFL defender.

What do you think about the pick? Let us know your thoughts by voting in the poll below:

Poll

What do you think of the Steelers pick of Connor Heyward?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    Love it!
    (376 votes)
  • 8%
    Hate it!
    (98 votes)
  • 29%
    Meh.
    (321 votes)
  • 27%
    Another brother?!
    (295 votes)
1090 votes total Vote Now

For more information on the selection of Heyward, check out the BTSC Breaking News podcast in the player below: