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: Xavier Grimble
Position: Tight End
Experience: 2 Years
Although he is technically regarded as a player with two years of accrued experience, having only spent time on 53-man rosters over the past two seasons, tight end Xavier Grimble has been in the Steelers’ organization for three seasons now, having been on the practice squad in 2015. The 25-year-old was an undrafted free agent in 2014 and bounced around among several teams before Pittsburgh picked him up in September 2015.
Over the course of the two years that he has spent on the 53-man roster, Grimble has yet to carve out a consistent role for himself, and even late last season spent some time as a gameday inactive in spite of the fact that the team only had three tight ends on the roster.
He was in danger of missing the roster after the Steelers acquired Vance McDonald via trade in August, but the team elected to keep the younger player over the veteran David Johnson, who was on the 53-man roster the year before.
Despite making the team, he didn’t receive much playing time, and when he did, he spent the majority of his time on running plays as a blocker, most often paired with either McDonald or Jesse James. He did see very limited time as a lone tight end while McDonald was injured.
When he did play, however, he graded out reasonably well. He has really worked on his physical conditioning and strength over the last couple of years, which has allowed him to become a competent but inconsistent blocker.
He also resurfaced late in the year after spending some time inactive, getting a role on the kick coverage unit, which is not ordinarily a presence for tight ends. If memory serves, he may have seen some time on the kick return unit as well, at least as a backup, perhaps after James Conner was injured.
Suffice it to say that Grimble’s roster spot should not be taken as a given. The Steelers wanted to draft a tight end last year, but failed to, and they are sniffing around the tight end class once again this year. If they do draft one, he figures to be the low man on the totem pole. Otherwise, he is a generally suitable number three.