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Craig Heyward earned the nickname “Ironhead” as much for his affable personality as for his punishing running style as a back that approached 250 pounds.

He rushed for 3,086 yards in three seasons at Pitt, including 1,791 yards in 1987 to earn consensus All-America honors.

Heyward was a 1995 Pro Bowl selection while with the Atlanta Falcons and had 4,301 rushing yards, 1,559 receiving yards and 34 touchdowns in an 11-year NFL career for five total NFL teams.

He died in 2006 at 39 from complications caused by a recurring brain tumor.

The younger Heyward became choked up when talking about his father during a conference call with the media not long after being picked. He also was shown on television as very emotional while watching the draft with his family in Georgia.

“Not having my father around through this process, it has been tough,” Heyward said. “But I know he is watching and I am going to strive everyday to make him proud of me and to live his legacy on.”

Heyward helps the Steelers infuse more youth into a position that has been aging in recent years. He becomes the second defensive lineman selected by the Steelers in the first round over the past three seasons. Pittsburgh took Ziggy Hood from Missouri at No. 32 overall after winning the Super Bowl in 2009.

Pittsburgh had one of the best run defenses in NFL history last season at 62.8 yards per game and ranked second in total defense and first in scoring defense. The reigning AFC champions have starters at all three positions on the defensive line who have made at least one Pro Bowl.

But all are 32 or older. End Aaron Smith is entering his 13th season and was limited to only six games last season due to left torn triceps injury.

“It’s going to be awesome to put (Heyward) in the mix with some other big-body young people that we’ve been able to add in the recent years,” Tomlin said. “I really feel good about adding to our lines of scrimmages with solid young people early in the draft.”

If the Steelers intended to try to nab Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey _ as many had speculated they were intent on attempting to do _ the chance of that happening ended when the Miami Dolphins took him at No. 15.

Pouncey is the twin brother of Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey, whom the Steelers took 18th overall last year. But if Mike Pouncey was a player the Steelers were willing to trade up for, the price to move up at least 16 spots apparently proved too high.

“We made a couple curiosity calls,” Colbert said when asked a general question if the team considered moving up in the draft.

But Colbert made it sound as if the Steelers were targeting Heyward all along.

“The longer it went, the better we felt about our chances, and fortunately it worked out for us staying still. Now we still got a guy we really coveted, and we have all our pick still remaining. I can’t tell you how happy we are about that.”

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