INDIANAPOLIS — No matter where he goes in the NFL draft, Michigan State tight end prospect Connor Heyward will be excited about his destination. But he can’t deny that there would be something special about joining older brother Cameron with the Steelers.
“It would be a dream come true,” Cameron Heyward said. “Wherever I play, I just want to play football. But my whole family is from Pittsburgh and my brother being Cam Heyward, captain of the Steelers, I think it’d be cool to learn from him and see how everything kind of happens. I’ve learned from him a lot, but I’ve never played with him. That’d be extremely cool.”
If it happened, the Heywards would become the third set of brothers to wear the black and gold, joining T.J. and Derek Watt and Terrell and Trey Edmunds. For Cameron Heyward, it’d be a familiar situation to his college experience.
“(The Steelers are) a team that likes having a lot of siblings, and at Michigan State, we had a good bit of siblings,” he said. “I think it helps, looking up to your older brother and having them push you to higher limits.”
Beyond the brotherly connection, Connor Heyward would bring a wide range of skills to the table for the Steelers should they opt to go in that direction. His versatility might not be quite up to the level of what Kordell Stewart once brought to Pittsburgh, but he does fit at several offensive positions, projects as an H-back/tight end combination…and yes, he does have experience at both quarterback and punter from his high school days.
“Honestly, I think I can play anywhere on the offensive side of the ball, and I think I’m an offensive weapon,” Heyward said. “I can be a third-down back, line up in the in the slot, play tight end, play special teams as well. I know that’s going to be an important part in my process.
“I honestly think I’m a mismatch. If a linebacker gets on me, I know I can beat him. With a safety, I can kind of lean on him. I think a lot of guys thing I’m slower than I actually am, and hopefully, I can show my speed (Thursday).”
If he does, it might help lift his stock to the earlier parts of the third day of the draft. That’s not a knock on Connor Heyward as much as it is a team figuring out exactly where he can best help their offense and special teams. As the son of Pitt product and 1988 first-round choice Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, Connor Heyward certainly has the pedigree to impress NFL decision-makers, but the game has also changed drastically since his father played, making it much harder for NFL teams to slot Connor’s position.
Whether he joins his brother at Heinz Field or finds his way to another NFL roster, Connor Heyward has no plans to lose the drive that’s pushed him to this point — another lesson from both his father and his brother.
“You never arrive,” Connor Heyward said. “No matter how good people are hyping you up to be, no matter how you’re playing, every day you have to come in like somebody’s going to take your job and you have to be number one. Someone is always coming for you; they’re always trying to recruit. It’s just like college; they’re trying to find the next guy.”