There are a lot of similarities between Quentin Lake and his father, Carnell Lake, the former Pittsburgh Steelers player and coach, who spent a total of 16 years with the organization (1989-98; 2011-17). Both played safety at UCLA, both wore #37, both have been regarded as heady players, and both were similarly built at the time they came out of college, with Quentin listed at 6-foot-1 and 201 pounds.
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Quentin Lake ‘Could Earn a Roster Spot’
Like his dad, Quentin Lake hopes to get drafted by an NFL team, much like his father was a second-round pick of the Steelers in 1989. While Lake the younger isn’t nearly as highly rated coming out of school as his dad, it’s likely he will be with an NFL team this summer, if not as a seventh-round draft pick then as an undrafted free agent signee.
The Steelers have been “keeping tabs on me for a while,” the younger Lake told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier this month, fresh off his best season at UCLA, during which he recorded three interceptions, six pass breakups and 53 tackles (39 solo), good enough for second-team All-Pac 12 honors.
“(Lake) is a sufficient-level athlete with regards to speed, quickness, and agility,” offers Drae Harris of The Draft Network. “He is someone whose traits likely won’t hear his name called in the draft, but he could earn a roster spot based on special teams and the intangibles that he brings to the safety position.”
If he does earn a roster spot, he will have been prescient. In January 2017, Quentin Lake posted a photo on Twitter from his elementary school yearbook in which he addressed what he envisioned for his future.
“I will have graduated from UCLA and be a professional football player,” he wrote.
Connor Heyward: A ‘Fun, Non-Sexy Player’
Meanwhile, the Steelers have also been keeping an eye on Michigan State fullback-turned-tight end Connor Heyward, who met with team representatives at the Senior Bowl earlier this month. Connor is the younger brother of Steelers All-Pro defensive lineman Cam Heyward, who recently told 93.7 The Fan that he’d like to see the Steelers draft his little brother and admitted that he has been keeping Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin appraised of his progress. “What do you think I’ve been doing the past four years? I’ve just been doing that his entire career,” quipped Heyward.
The younger Heyward—6-feet-tall and 230 pounds—has been described as “a fun, non-sexy player,” with The Draft Network referring to him as a hybrid. “As a running back, he punished defenders with his physicality,” adds Damian Parson. “His thick and compact frame provides a cushion to absorb contact. He has flashed athleticism at tight end as well.”
Connor Heyward finished the 2021 season with 35 receptions for 326 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Heyward’s best season running the ball was in 2018 when he had 529 rushing yards on 118 carries. He also returned 38 kickoffs during the 49 games in which he played for the Spartans, including 28 starts.
In January he finished his college career by helping Michigan State to a 31-21 comeback victory over the Pitt Panthers in the Peach Bowl, catching five passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.
Like Quentin Lake, it would be a surprise if Connor heard his name called earlier than the seventh-round. He might very well be available to the Steelers as a rookie undrafted free agent.
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