This guy is on fire since he's been starting. He's putting up the kind of stats/performance this team has never seen from a 3-4 DE.
Last 7 games, he has 42 tackles, 4 sacks, and 4 Passes Defended. That projects to 96 tackles, 9 sacks, and 9 PDs over 16 games.
Let's put those numbers in perspective. Most tackles in a season for Smith - 70 and for Keisel - 55. For each of those guys, their best season was way better than their average season. So Heyward's 96 tackle pace in his first season starting is off the charts because he's only going to get better with experience.
As far as sacks go, Smiity has 8 twice and Keisel had 5.5 once. Again these are way above their career averages and again, Heyward is on a pace that blows their production away in his first season starting.
As far as batting down passes, Keisel's done it 7 times twice and 6 another and Aaron's done it 7 once. The rest of their seasons were relatively insignificant. So it's just one more category that Heyward is tearing up the pace.
Pittsburgh has never seen a 3-4 DE like Heyward before. And he's just getting started.
I also wonder if his play is impacting how well Worilds is able to play at LOLB? Curious if he's taking some pressure off Worilds as a pass rusher and tackler to make more plays?