Transactions

Presented by

Steelers sign Heyward, Robinson, Oladokun

The Steelers signed three more draft picks, including sixth-round pick tight end/fullback Connor Heyward and seventh-round picks linebacker Mark Robinson and quarterback Chris Oladokun.

Heyward, the younger brother of defensive tackle Cameron Heyward, converted to tight end his redshirt senior season, finishing with 35 catches for 326 yards and two touchdowns. During his time at Michigan State he had 211 carries for 825 rushing yards and five touchdowns, with 96 receptions for 711 yards and six receiving touchdowns.

"Obviously people understand who he is," said General Manager Kevin Colbert. "First and foremost, that's not why we drafted him. Connor Heyward was a running back at Michigan State, and I give Coach (Mel) Tucker and his staff credit for taking Connor and using him in a different manner as an H-back tight end/fullback.

"Connor has got exceptional ball skills, receiving abilities, for a big man. We're excited to see what he can do as a tight end, as an H-back, as a special teamer. He's very, very talented. He's very versatile."

Tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts said the team will start Heyward out as a tight end.

"I had an opportunity to look at him as a tight end, as a move guy, and he offers some value," said Roberts.
Heyward does have position flexibility, including fullback and being a threat on special teams and is willing to do anything and everything that is asked on him.

"I see myself as all of those and so do they," said Heyward. "They like my versatility. They have a plan for me. No matter what it is, I am going to embrace it. I am excited to be a Steeler.

"I know special teams is an important thing. I know what it takes to be successful on special teams. I know special teams can keep you in the NFL longer. You can't shy away from that. That is something you have to want to do."

Robinson, who played at Ole Miss, was a running back for most of his college career, playing linebacker for just one year.

"That is part of what we like about him," said Brian Flores, senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach. "There is some upside here. Somebody who hasn't played the position for a long time. He showed speed, athleticism, toughness, physicality. A lot of things we liked. He is a fun guy to watch on film.

"I think he has some upside. Anything that is a new position there was a little bit of a learning curve early in the season. As you watched him progress you saw him improve, get better. That is what you are looking for. You like to see that as a coach. He is a hard-working kid. I got that feeling meeting him. It's important to him. That is a big part of making progress as a player. I know he will work to get better."

Flores said how Robinson fits in to the defense is up to him, and he does know special teams will be a part of it.

"I always tell players take advantage of your opportunities," said Flores. "If he comes in and works, and improves every day and works to get better, he'll have a chance.

"For any rookie there is going to be a big learning curve. Still being new to the position, but there is a big learning curve for all rookies. There is a lot going on for rookies.

"I know football is important to him. I know he'll do what he needs to get better on a daily basis."

Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers seventh-round pick LB Mark Robinson

Oladokun threw for 3,164 yards, 25 touchdowns, and seven interceptions in 2021 at South Dakota State. He rushed for 166 yards and also had two touchdown receptions.

"Every single day I am in here I am going to be the best teammate I can be," said Oladokun. "Hold myself accountable. Hold other accountable. Just do what I have been doing my whole life, working hard, being a leader and perfecting my craft every day. I am excited to be a Steeler."

Oladokun, who started his college career at South Florida, before going to Stanford and then South Dakota State, is someone who brings passion to the game with every play.

"I would describe myself as someone who likes to play with a lot of enthusiasm, passion, extend plays outside of the pocket," said Oladokin. "I learned how to control the game from that standpoint. I can't wait to show Steelers fans what I can do."

The Steelers liked what they saw out of him, making him the second quarterback they selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, along with first-round pick Kenny Pickett.

"We had good grades on him coming out of (South Dakota State)," said General Manager Kevin Colbert. "He played in the NFLPA game, and we decided, look, we wanted to add another quarterback to our roster, and this young man, we brought him in for a pre-draft visit, very mature, very smart, impressed us, not only on the field but with his off-the-field talents and intelligence and just demeanor."

Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers seventh-round pick QB Chris Oladokun

Advertising