The Pittsburgh Steelers completed deals with their last two unsigned draft picks this afternoon. Most notably, first rounder [intlink id=”39″ type=”category”]Cameron \”Ironhead Jr.\” Heyward [/intlink]agreed to a four year $6.7 million contract with $3.3 million in guaranteed money.
To give you an idea of how rookies have taken it up the ass under the new CBA, our top pick following our last Super Bowl appearance, Ziggy Hood, signed a five year deal for $8.7 million which included a $6 million signing bonus in addition to another $2.7 million in salary that could double based on various performance incentives. Not that I would object to being abused to the tune of $3.3 million, mind you.
Heyward’s father, the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, was an All-American running back at Pitt who went on to an eleven year NFL career. He also starred in one of the greatest television campaigns in sports history. A four year starter for the corrupt Ohio State football program, Cameron was a projected top 15 pick after his junior year but fell following a sub-par senior campaign in which he was hobbled by an ankle injury. He doesn’t profile to be a dynamic sack artist but in Dick LeBeau‘s 3-4 system, the defensive line isn’t expected to pressure the quarterback. Cam’s strengths lie in his ability to take on blocks, remain stout at the point of attack, and be a steady tackler, all of which are the ideal recipe for a Steeler lineman.
Third round CB Curtis Brown also agreed to a deal. Someone evidently clued the kid in to the fact there is a wide open competition at nickel back so getting to camp on time was of paramount importance if he had any hopes of seeing significant playing time as a rookie. With Will.i.am Gay and Anthony Madison still unsigned, this leaves the vaunted duo of Crezdon Butler and Keenan Lewis as your only remaining options. Which is a little like being given of the choice between losing your head or losing your dick. Brown was tabbed as a second round talent on a lot of draft boards and possesses all the physical tools you look for in cover corner. While LeBeau’s defense is insanely difficult for rookies to grasp, if there’s one player who could prove the exception to this rule, it’d be Brown.