Steelers TE Connor Heyward poised for a breakout season

There is a ton of excitement surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers offense this season thanks to the addition of two new quarterbacks and new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. We have already seen snippets of OTA practices that show plenty of new wrinkles in the passing game that feel like this offense is going to be much more explosive than in recent seasons.

Of all the players on the team who could benefit the most from all of the upgrades, we feel like tight end Connor Heyward might be the guy who shines in this scheme.

Looking at Smith’s offense, the tight end has always been big part of it but when we connect the dots between Smith and Heyward we look at 2020. Smith was the offensive coordinator of the Tennessee Titans and he built one of the best offenses in the NFL.

Tight end Jonnu Smith had 41 receptions and fullback Anthony Firsker had 39 of his own. Heyward’s career best is 23 receptions in 2023. With Heyward’s diverse skill set, we can see Smith getting him involved heavily in his play-action scheme and Heyward’s ability to work inline, split wide and out of the backfield.

We also lean heavily into Heyward being a big factor this season with fellow tight end Pat Freiermuth being in the final year of his contract. The Steelers have to prepare for the future in case Freiermuth moves on in free agency next offseason.

The Steelers selected Heyward, younger brother of defensive tackle Cam Heyward in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL draft. Heyward had a strong career at Michigan State as both a running back and tight end which just lends itself to an expanded role this season even more.

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire