Drops Aside, Heyward-Bey Would Give The Steelers A Sizable Fast Layer Of Low Risk Depth

By Josh Svetz

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette certainly surprised fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers on April Fools day of all days when he reported that Indianapolis Colts free agent wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was set to visit the Steelers April 2nd.

The perceived view of Heyward-Bey would be along the lines of “draft bust”. While you could easily argue that, it doesn’t mean he still can’t contribute to some degree for the Steelers.

Let’s examine what Heyward-Bey would bring to the Steelers if signed.

The first thing that the former first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders would bring to the team is speed as Heyward-Bey is still widely considered by many to be one of the faster players In the NFL. Heyward-Bey’s speed helped raise his draft stock when he ran a 4.30 at the 2009 NFL Scouting Combine and the late Al Davis took notice. In his four seasons in Oakland, that speed was on display as six of his 11 touchdowns that he scored with his former team came from 32 or more yards out.

Next, Heyward-Bey would provide size for the Steelers. At 6’2, 219 pounds, the Maryland product would give quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a tall, playmaking receiver that could occasional help stretch the field when called upon.

Third, signing Heyward Bey would offer a layer of depth protection should the Steelers not be able to land a wide receiver to their liking early on in the draft.

With all that said, what exactly is Heyward-Bey at this stage in his career?

Last season, Heyward-Bey was the No. 3 receiver for the Colts. In 13 games, he caught 29 passes, for 309 yards and one touchdown. He did, however, have nine drops, the most of his career. Unfortunately, acquiring Heyward-Bey means drops will likely come with him based on his track record.

At this stage in Heyward Bey’s career, he should be looked at as a potential No. 4 option with No. 3 ability. Signing him shouldn’t completely surprise everyone, especially if he’s brought in at the minimum.

Overall, the Steelers’ interest in Heyward-Bey does make some sense and especially if they feel like they can fix his drop problem. While his upside as a player is limited, adding him for the minimum as an extra training camp body would be a low risk move. If he doesn’t work out, he could easily be cut in training camp. If he does hang on, literally, it would give the Steelers experienced depth at a position where they could really use some.

We will see how the visit goes on Wednesday as Heyward-Bey attempts to prove that he should be a Steeler.

  • frednash

    He sounds like Felix Jones

    Another high draft pick bust

    I think they both will end up being very


  • William Weaver

    He never has before but give him some kick return chances in preseason. See if he can make that speed work for him. Might not have wanted to or needed to before being a number 7 overall pick but he needs to make his mark now. Unleash him!! Lol

  • ApexSteel

    Exactly “low risk”. Yinzers are losing their damn minds like we’re expecting him to start or something.

  • Iron Cadet

    i dont think 6″2 counts as tall. but i really dont see us bringing him in. if we brought him in he would probably be the 4th or 5th wide receiver behind brown, wheaton, moore, and our rookie who i am so fond of already.

  • Brendon Glad

    He would not make the team so I’d be surprised if he were signed. At least he BETTER not make the team or we will be groaning about some major disappointments or injuries from the WR’s during camp. One of the least impressive first round WR’s I can recall in recent years. Drops deflate teams and home crowds about as much as dumb penalties. Stay away. Call Randy moss or something if all you want is a 9 route. At least he can catch.

  • cp72

    Why would he not make the team? AB, Moore, Wheaton, and probably a draft pick.

    That leaves Justin Brown, Moye, and Danny Coale. You wouldn’t take DHB over any if those three?

  • Kurt Williams

    6’2 IS tall compared to the height challenged wr’s on the current active roster, but tall doesn’t necessarily translate to winning…its a luxury. Nothing wrong with bringing him in for a look.
    I too am fond of our rookie draft pick!

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    I have to admit I am puzzled – how can they sign ANYBODY right now given that they have $32k of cap space left? Unless an extension or release is going on in the background I don’t see how they can sign any more free agents.
    What am I missing or is my assumption about extensions/releases correct?

  • Paddy

    Ben does well enough with smaller receivers, I hope they draft the best available rec. regardless of size.

  • Nathaniel Sullivan

    490,000 on the rule of 51. But I honestly don’t know if they can do it.

  • Jason White

    If Justin Brown has a good showing I’d take him over DHB. Younger, slightly taller, soft hands and he contributes on special teams and as a #4 or #5 WR you should be expected to contribute on special teams. Justin Brown isn’t a burner but he is a willing blocker, a decent route runner and plays the ball well in the air.

  • Babybull

    He’s no better then moye or brown that’s are problem let young guys play this guy is terrible

  • Babybull

    Hell no he couldn’t catch more than 29 passes as a starter with A Luck as a starter that’s telling you something

  • AndyR34

    Well…he had a stellar year last year, didn’t he?

  • 804Stiller

    Agreed, pick up the best WR available in an early round and size would just be a plus. DHB drops too many balls. Drops take the wind out of drives. Reminds me of Sweed. He used to get so open too………….

  • Jason White

    Justin Brown likely earned himself a roster spot last year had it not been for Derek Moye’s late push that impressed the coaches.

  • I’ve had season tickets to Penn State for over 6 years. I’ve gone to games since I was eight years old. I watched Derek Moye and Justin Brown during their careers. I would be surprised if either Brown or Moye develops into anything that lasts longer than four seasons in the NFL. I hope Moye and Brown are good receivers for the Steelers, but I’d be very surprised after watching them in college.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I don’t mind as long as our wr coach thinks he can teach him better techniques to catch but i hope they decide not to waste money or a spot on this guy im all for getting a cb in the first AND second or third then wr dl rb te BUT if they’re this desperate i don’t mind wr in first or second rd

  • ApexSteel

    I don’t necessarily believe that, but if so then let them prove it in training camp. If it doesn’t work out we cut him plain and simple.

  • steeltown

    Lanear Sampson is my dark horse candidate, camp will be interesting

  • Paul Barracliffe

    Thanks Svetz but I don’t think he’s worth his drops I can see how it makes sense. I would rather have someone with at least the potential of not consistently dropping the rock.

  • Steven Vincent

    Tall AND very fast is a rare combo. If we can fix his tendency to body catch we might have something here.

  • Brendon Glad

    No, I would not. But they signed him so they obviously like him a lot more than I do. I think he’s borderline horrible. And with little upside based on his slow rate of “improvement” so far. But we shall see.