The Pittsburgh Steelers have a major set challenges facing them for the offseason of 2019 after they managed to miss the postseason for the first time in five years. The failure has been taken especially grievously because of the fact that the team was in position to control their own fate even for homefield advantage with six games remaining before dropping four games.
And so they find themselves getting the exit meeting process underway at least two weeks earlier than they have had to in years, since they have made it to at least the Divisional Round since 2015. Hopefully they used those extra two weeks with purpose.
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 2018 season.
Player: Chukwuma Okorafor
Experience: 1 Year
In spite of the fact that the Steelers lost their swing tackle in free agency in 2018, that being Chris Hubbard departing for the Cleveland Browns as their new starting right tackle, fans were still confused and disappointed when the Steelers used their second of two third-round draft choices on the position in the 2018 NFL Draft.
That was at least in part because of who they drafted, and the fact that most had never heard of him. Chukwuma Okorafor was a 20-year-old three-year starter at Western Michigan who had only been around the game of football for a few years prior to that, his family having immigrated to the United States from Botswana in 2010.
Though physically talented, he would understandably be viewed as somewhat of a raw prospect, but it wasn’t long before the spotlight was shone on him when the Steelers’ projected swing tackle, third-year Jerald Hawkins, suffered a torn quad during OTAs, resulting in him missing the entire season.
Though he dressed for every game in 2018 as the backup tackle, he dressed for two different starters. Marcus Gilbert only played in five games, with 10 of the other 11 started by Matt Feiler. Feiler was inactive for the five games that Gilbert played.
Okorafor did start the other game, however, and though he gave up one sack late in the game, he held his own pretty well, putting in an encouraging performance as it pertains to his future. Even his play in the preseason was above what most of their tackles has been during their rookie years.
His primary role during the year, however, had been as an extra tight end, a role that he played in most games for at least a snap or two. It’s something that Mike Munchak talked about as a tool to get young linemen involved. He will figure to continue serving in that role in 2019.