The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2016 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Never the less, what must be done must be done, and we are now at the time of the year where we close the book on one season and look ahead to the next.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between Head Coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2016 season.
Player: Daniel McCullers
Position: Nose Tackle
Experience: 3 Years
The 2017 season will be an important one for Daniel McCullers, but the reality is that he will likely be given sparse opportunities to do anything about it. After three seasons, the 6’7” nose tackle has failed to carve out a role for himself beyond in their goal-line package, where they use four linemen and up to six linebackers to defend their end zone.
Not that he has failed to live up to his draft status or anything like that—he was a sixth-round draft pick, after all, and has more often than not managed to stay on his feet when he has been given limited snaps. I believe he has even blocked a kick before.
McCullers did see more action in 2016, and was more active in his playing time. He recorded 17 tackles on his roughly 180 snaps, so not far from one tackle every 10 snaps. Of course, he also recorded his first full sack during the season, which would bring it closer to 1-in-10. He also had a batted pass.
Over his three-year career, he has recorded 27 tackles with a sack and a half and a pass defensed, so as you can see, the majority of his production did come last season. And it would be unfair to deny that he has grown since his rookie season.
But the problem with McCullers has never been his ability. He is obviously physically capable of being a successful player on any given down, but it’s rare that he does so with much consistency. He may drive the center into the pocket on one play, and the next he could be blown out of the A Gap to allow a long run.
What he has lacked throughout his career is authority over his own body. He has never fully been able to use his natural assets to his advantage, which is why you can see him at times being moved with surprising ease for a player his size.
It would not be surprising to see the Steelers address the nose tackle position in the draft, even in the late rounds, to compete with McCullers. They may need another player in 2018 anyway when he is scheduled to enter free agency.