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: Cobi Hamilton
Position: Wide Receiver
Experience: 1 Year
The 2016 season was certainly an eventful one for wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, who finally got an opportunity to make a difference in an NFL season after originally being drafted in the sixth round by the Bengals in the 2013 season.
Hamilton was active for just one game during the two portions of two seasons in which he was with the Bengals. He was activated for the team’s playoff game loss to the Colts at the end of the 2014 season due to injuries at the position. Otherwise, he has spent time on their practice squad, as well as on the practice squad or the offseason roster of the Eagles, Dolphins, and Panthers before landing with the Steelers.
Hamilton was with the Panthers during the 2016 offseason before being released in late July. The Steelers picked him up in early Septembers and fairly quickly drew some attention for his height and quickness. He showed enough potential during the preseason to earn himself a practice squad spot on what seemed to be a deep receiving corps.
That depth was tested significantly following injuries to multiple players, with Hamilton being promoted from the 53-man roster after the first five games. He saw action on the final drive of that sixth game and caught two passes for 36 yards including a 23-yard touchdown, albeit a meaningless one.
He was a fairly consistent presence on the field for most of the rest of the season, logging a good number of snaps in nearly every game, though only being sparsely targeted, and frequently being relied upon to serve as a blocker, especially while Darrius Heyward-Bey was sidelined on offense for most of the second half of the season.
He never caught more than three passes in a game, and nine times—including the postseason—he caught one or none, but more often than not, it seemed, that one reception would prove to be a key third-down conversion or a big play.
Still, it was also clear at times, none more so than during the AFC Championship game, that he was likely being asked to play a larger role than should be expected of him. Though he came away with a meaningless 30-yard touchdown in that game, he also dropped another touchdown earlier in the game, and caught another one illegally after going out of bounds.
Hamilton has already been re-signed as an exclusive rights free agent and figures to compete yet again for a roster spot, or at worst, a spot on the practice squad. He is a quality depth player, in my opinion, but you would prefer that he not be asked to be one of your top three guys.