Darrius Heyward-Bey was a new addition to the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason and even though the wide receiver isn’t a long-time Steeler, he’s still a veteran of the game.
There’s been a lot of talk about the new additions to every NFL team since the draft, but as the saying goes, some teams will being going “out with the old and in with the new.”
Some veterans’ jobs may be in jeopardy as new, younger players start their NFL careers. Heyward-Bey is one player in particular who should feel pressure when it comes to making the Steelers’ roster this offseason.
The former Oakland Raider and Indianapolis Colt was brought onto the scene after the Steelers’ receiving corps became thin with the departure of Emmanuel Sanders. Along with him they lost Jerricho Cotcher later on. Heyward-Bey was brought in as a cushion for the offense. He was seen as depth and he’s still seen as that.
Heyward-Bey, 27, last season amassed 29 receptions for 309 yards and one touchdown. He’s past his prime and he’s a player trying to get his career back on track. Unfortunately for him, Pittsburgh doesn’t seem like the place to catch his footing.
The Steelers have Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Lance Moore who are projected to be starters this season. Beyond them sits fourth-round pick, Martavis Bryant, Justin Brown, Derek Moye, and Heyward-Bey.
Out of those mentioned, Bryant and Brown might have the edge heading into training camp. Moye had opportunities last year to make impressions and he failed to really do anything with his chances. It doesn’t seem likely that Moye will be around this season as rookie Martavis Bryant provides height and promise, attributes that can replace Moye.
Justin Brown is an interesting player to watch. Last season he was irrelevant, making only the practice squad, but during the early stages of this offseason he’s aiming to be a factor on special teams and this could bode well for the young receiver.
He’s faster than Moye and Heyward-Bey which will make for a spot on special teams more realistic. Last season Moye beat out Brown for a roster spot but this year, having Bryant in the mix dampers Moye’s chances and heightens Brown’s.
This leaves Heyward-Bey, a veteran engaged in battle against youthful competition. It doesn’t seem plausible that this veteran snags a roster spot, not with these others on hand.
His chances are slim, but not dead. There’s always the possibility of injuries and depth will be needed. Heyward-Bey probably has some gas left in the tank, but he’s wracked up miles and the newer models like Bryant and J. Brown are more likely to be taken for a drive this season.