RE 1st Round Pick Cameron HeywardCAMERON HEYWARDDefensive End/Tackle – Ohio State University1st Round – 31st Overall
Kevin Colbert: First of all I'd like to thank everybody for sticking this out. I know it's a long evening, but we feel it was very worthwhile for us to be able to stick this out and to be able to pick a kid like Cameron Heyward. We feel this is one of those special players that I talked about the other day, not only from a football standpoint, but this kid has impeccable character, work habits, toughness, you name it. It's hard to find a hole with this guy. He is a special player. He is a special person. Of course you are familiar with his father, the late, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, the great Pitt Panther. This is a special moment for this organization, and we are really, really excited to have this kid joining.
Mike Tomlin: There are a lot of reasons to like Cameron Heyward. He's got a four-year body of work, not a one or two-year body of work. We are very familiar with this guy, a lot of carryover, very familiar schematically in terms of what we do and what he was able to do at Ohio State. We are just extremely excited about him. He's an impeccable young man, a really good football player. It's going to be awesome to put him in the mix with some other big-body young people that we've been able to add in the recent years, Ziggy Hood, Maurkice Pouncey and now Cameron Heyward. I really feel good about adding to our lines of scrimmages with solid young people early in the draft.
Do you ever get serious to moving up or down in the draft?KC: No, there was a couple calls, more curiosity. We made a couple curiosity calls and we had a few calls from people in front of us that maybe wanted to flush down a couple teams behind us that wanted to come up. The longer it went, the better we felt about our chances. Fortunately it worked out today. We got a guy we really coveted and we have all our picks remaining. I can't tell you how happy we are about this.
Were you ever worried that he might be gone, and did you ever consider moving up?KC: There was consideration, but every pick that comes off of guys that we wouldn't be considering, our odds increased. You just have to weigh the odds and hope that it works out for you. Fortunately it did this time.
Re: Getting a feel for the character of a player:MT: It's a feel but it is also what they've done, what people say about them and of course their track record at the University. This guy is an A in that regard.
Re: Four years at Ohio State:MT: It gives us a great deal of comfort from a predictability standpoint in that he is capable of showing what he has done there over an extended period of time. It's not a one-year body of work. This guy has been a significant a core football player in that system since the time he stepped on campus. It creates a great deal of comfort when you are looking at a guy. He's not only a mature young man, he is a mature player from that standpoint, relative to some other people that get drafted in the draft. He has about as much experience or playing experience that someone is going to have that you drafted.
What are his capabilities?MT: I think he is capable of doing it all based on what we've seen on Ohio State tape. There's no question he was an anchor-point for them in the run game. He also created splash plays for them via rushing the passer.
Re: Drafting Ohio State players because of their system-importance to player's transition:MT: It's not a necessity. It creates a great deal of comfort when looking at someone, in terms of projecting what they might be capable of doing for you. It's not weighted any differently from that standpoint, it's just a nice level of comfort as you study and evaluate tape, and see some of the things they might be doing for you.
Re: Second defensive end in last three drafts being a reflection of present defensive end's ages:MT: More than anything it's just a reflection of our willingness to fortify ourselves in the line of scrimmage. We got Maurkice Pouncey a year ago, and just doing a nice job of acquiring some talented, big men.
What's advantage of having a first round pick not having to product immediately?MT: We don't over analyze that. If this young man comes in and is capable of playing and proves that, he'll play. There is no plan in that regard. The guys that deserve the play time, are given play time. Maurkice Pouncey earned it a year ago. This guy will be given the opportunity to do the same.
How much does it help schematically when they do a lot of similar things?MT: I don't know that it's going to help him. Of course, some of the verbage and so forth is different. I'm sure some of the minuet details, in terms of the execution and techniques. Coach Mitch is going to provide him with, maybe different. We're not going to assume anything, it just makes for an easy watch, or an enjoyable watch as you watch tape.
Re: Education – has to wait for graduation?KC: He already has his grades.
MT: He has graduated, so that quarter school rule does not apply to him.
Was Coach LeBeau campaigning for this?MT: No, not an Ohio Stater.
Re: Pitching in the fall after Tommy John Surgery:MT: We won't need him to pitch.
KC: He had surgery. He actually injured the elbow during the Sugar Bowl against Arkansas, finished the game, and had surgery shortly thereafter. He was unable to work out at the combine. He worked out March 30th and 31st. Coach Tomlin and myself, and Coach LeBeau attended the work out, and he did very well. He cleared all the medical issues and he'll be ready to go.
Re: Emotions and family background with PittsburghKC: Coach Tomlin talked to him and Art (Rooney) talked to him. His mother's family is from Highland Park. Of course, "Ironhead" (father, Craig Heyward) played for Pitt. There are a lot of ties and it was something we hoped could happen. You'll have to ask him, but I'm pretty sure he was excited about the possibility of coming here. Again, it looks like the stars aligned for us today, and again we feel real fortunate. I hope and I'm real positive that Cameron (Heyward) feels the same.
Did any of you ever meet Iron Head in person? Did you know him before he passed awayKC: I knew him when I was a young scout at that time. I had met him a few times, but didn't really know him well. I think you'll see some physical resemblance obviously, Cameron is a lot taller than Craig was. But, the personalities, there are some similarities there. Again, this is a special kid.