ESPN unveiled their rankings of the top ten interior defensive lineman in football Tuesday, and a pair of Pittsburgh Steelers made the cut.
Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward and defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt clocked in at No. 4 and 8 respectively, according to ESPN’s polling of nearly 60 executives, scouts, coaches and players.
Productive and consistent well into his early thirties, Heyward has demonstrated the ability and savvy to impact the game in a multitude of ways over his Steeler career.
“Steady, consistent, productive, technician,” an anonymous AFC scout told ESPN regarding Heyward. “Once he gets those long arms in your chest, he can push you back.”
Heyward totaled 54 tackles, seven tackles for a loss, four sacks and 18 quarterback hits in 15 games. He also had an interception and defended three passes.
He earned his third All-Pro selection in 2020. Heyward has also been named to four Pro Bowls.
As for Tuitt, voters believe he is a problem in the middle that teams always have to game plan for.
“Incredibly gifted player,” an NFC scout told ESPN. “Comes and goes, but when he’s on, he’s a massive problem.”
Tuitt had a monster 2020 campaign, recording 11 sacks, ten tackles-for-loss, 25 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles.
There was no surprise at the top of the rankings, with Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald claiming No. 1.