Is Cameron Heyward a future Hall of Famer?

Will Cameron Heyward make it into Canton?

By: Jake Rajala

The Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward might play across from the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt, but don’t lose sight of his career rampage. Heyward was First-Team All-Pro in 2017, 2019, and 2021. He was also second-team All-Pro in 2020. Furthermore, the versatile Steelers DL made the Pro Bowl in each season from 2017 to 2021.

It wasn’t a surprise that he captured First-Team All-Pro honors in 2021 – as he recorded 10 sacks, a career-high 89 combined tackles, 17 QB hits, 15 TFLs, a personal-best 9 pass deflections, and 1 interception. PFF gave the Steelers DL an unearthly 91 grade for his performance.

With that enunciated, there is a fascinating, vital question surrounding the Steelers “second-best DL”: Is Heyward a future Hall of Famer? Well, I actually don’t believe he is quite ready to be cemented as a HOF DL. Watt’s partner in crime may have unleashed fury over the prior five seasons, but he does not have the sexiest career production: 68 sacks, 153 QB hits, and 101 TFLs. He failed to make a single Pro Bowl in his first six seasons. He also doesn’t boast a Super Bowl ring, while Big Ben has two Lombardi trophies.

Nonetheless, I believe it’s certainly possible for Heyward to make it into Canton. If he wants to have a gold jacket, he should strive to have a few more Pro Bowl-caliber seasons or two more All-Pro seasons in my opinion. I do feel confident that the 33-year-old will have a few more PB seasons. He has a similar motor and work ethic as fellow aging, dominant DL Cameron Jordan. Heyward doesn’t belong in football heaven yet, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel for him to give a HOF speech.

Is T.J. Watt a future first-ballot Hall of Famer right now?

Is T.J. Watt a future hall of fame already?

By: Jake Rajala

The Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt tied Michael Strahan’s sack record (22.5) and won the defensive player of the year award last season. It should also be noted that Watt recorded 22.5 sacks in 17 games 15 games. It’s clear that the second Watt brother to win DPOY has cemented himself as a mythical football figure. There is already a mighty question that many Steelers fans have regarding the 27-year-old pass rusher: Is T.J. Watt already a future first-ballot Hall of Famer? Well, I will unveil his career production and conclude if his current resume is impressive enough to make it as a first-ballot HOF at this moment.

Watt has been an All-Pro player in each of the past three seasons. The four-time Pro Bowl selection also has 72.5 career sacks, 150 QB hits, and 80 career tackles for loss. Watt and his older brother in Arizona are still seeking the elusive Super Bowl ring.

I believe Demarcus Ware has a very fascinating career comparison to Watt right now. The former Cowboys legendary sack artist had 138.5 career sacks, two seasons of 19.5+ sacks, and he made four All-Pro teams in his career. Unfortunately, Ware did NOT make the Hall of Fame in his first year of HOF eligibility (2022).

Watt has 1 DPOY award, while Ware has 0 DPOY awards. The two pass rushers have the same number of All-Pro honors and they both have been consistently superb in sacking the QB at this point. Ware actually has an upper hand on Watt in a pivotal category: Super Bowl victories. Ware has a Super Bowl ring, while Watt hasn’t won a SB thus far. Ware also notched two sacks and five tackles in the SB.

I honestly don’t believe Watt is the first-ballot HOF yet. If Watt can have two or three more All-Pro seasons, or win another DPOY (while making another All-Pro team), I believe the reigning DPOY should join Aaron Donald as a sure-fire first-ballot HOF. His fellow DL teammate Cameron Heyward is still playing at a high level at 32 years old (10 sacks in 2021) and I expect the “highest-paid defensive player in the league” to continue to prove every penny of his hefty contract. When the younger Watt on the Steelers retires, he should be another greek god-like Steeler to wind up as a first-ballot HOF.

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