The Pittsburgh Steelers find that their 2017 season ended a bit prematurely, and are undergoing the exit meeting process a couple weeks sooner than they would have liked. Nevertheless, 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: Anthony Chickillo
Position: Outside Linebacker
Experience: 3 Years
While the shining star that is Anthony Chickillo has slowly lost some of its luster over the course of the past couple of seasons, there is still a strong contingent of believers to stick by him and hold on to the conviction that he is capable of being a full-time starter.
In actuality, the third-year outside linebacker has started nine games over the course of the past two years, though in some cases that involved him heavily rotating in and out. The former sixth-round draft picks has recorded five and a half sacks in his career, all coming in the past two years.
Playing as a college defensive end at Miami, the Steelers surprised when they announced that they were drafting him to convert him to outside linebacker as a stand-up player (and he does still occasionally rush with a hand on the ground, seemingly an aberration among the team’s edge rushers).
He has transformed his physique over the course of his career to accommodate the move, which he has said he believes is the weight and position that he ought to have been playing all along anyway. He has certainly improved since his rookie season, and has moved up to the top backup outside linebacker at this point in his career. He even passed James Harrison in 2017, passing Arthur Moats on the depth chart the year before.
This past season, he started two games, one on the left side and one on the right, an echo of his versatility, to be able to perform equally well off either edge. He recorded three sacks between those two starts, though that was the total for his season.
According to Pro Football Focus, he rushed with nearly equal frequency, but was slightly more productive from the left, where two of his sacks were recorded. He is credited with having the lower pass-rush productivity among the Steelers’ outside linebackers, recording 10 pressures on 109 rushes.
It would be a grievous omission were I to fail to mention his key contributions on special teams, where he has become an integral player on multiple coverage units. A fair number of his 54 career tackles have come in that phase of the game.