Current NFL players have once again voted on their Top 100 Players of 2023 in the league, and defensive tackle Cameron Heyward is the first one to make the list as they do the countdown.
Heyward came in at No. 45 on the list.
Heyward, who was named to the AFC roster for the Pro Bowl Games last year, finished the season second on the Steelers with 10.5 sacks and led the team with 14 tackles for a loss.
He amassed 74 tackles, 39 of them solo stops, and added four passes defensed, 22 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble and fumble recovery.
Heyward is looking forward to the 2023 season and feels with the talent the Steelers have returning from 2022 on defense, and the infusion of new blood through free agency and the draft, they have the ability to take that next step, but it's not all on the defense. It's offense, defense and special teams that have to all work together.
"I think our defense can be very good," said Heyward. "It's a team that needs to get it done. I'm not saying one side of the ball is going to get it done. It's a group effort. Guys gotta grow. Having the more experienced guys on defense, we do need to lead in some approach."
In his 13th season Heyward is the longest tenured player on defense and it's up to him to lead that way. But he wants to make sure he is fresh and ready to go when the game is on the line, and that might mean taking a breather here and there.
"It's about keeping me fresh in the fourth quarter and throughout the season," said Heyward. "I can't play ever rep. I am not going to try to. I want to make sure I make the most of every rep I am in. I can't play every rep. It comes down to having solid guys behind me, which I think we do, (Isaiahh) Loudermilk, Armon Watts, there's a boatload of guys I think can play, plus (Keeanu) Benton, DeMarvin Leal. It's not going to come down to just me. It never will. It's about having fresh guys on the field."
Take a look at photographs of Steelers DT Cameron Heyward from the 2022 season
This is the 13th year current players across the league have voted for the Top 100, a series that then streams on NFL+ and later airs on NFL Network each week.
The Top 10 will be revealed during a two-hour show on Monday, August 7 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL+. The live show will be hosted by Rich Eisen and Andrew Whitworth with special guests featured from the Top 10 players selected.
On Sunday, August 6, NFL Network will air a four-episode marathon counting down from No. 50 – No.11 starting at 9:00 AM ET.
For more information on how to purchase NFL+ and NFL+ Premium subscriptions, fans can access www.nfl.com/plus. Throughout The Top 100 Players of 2023, the Around the NFL team will provide reaction pieces and analysis on this year's selections.