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: Olasunkanmi Adeniyi
Position: Outside Linebacker
Experience: 1 Year
I wish there were more to write about the rookie season of Toledo’s Olasunkanmi Adeniyi, but the truth of the matter is that he spent a good majority of it doing nothing—even after he was activated from the injured reserve list. But the fact that he was on injured reserve at all, as a player eligible to be designated for return, was significant for the college free agent.
Adeniyi wasn’t exactly a ‘big name’ post-draft pickup, but he played that way in the preseason, recording three sacks, two of which also produced fumbles. He won a good percentage of his matches and kept his rate of pressure up, but he also had success against the run. He looked like somebody who could contribute.
Which is why the Steelers left him on the initial 53-man roster even though he was injured. They wanted to be able to bring him back later in the year, and they did. Though they only activated him because Bud Dupree was nursing an injury that kept him out of practice that week.
Dupree played in that game anyway, and Adeniyi was limited to something like a dozen snaps, failing to record any official statistics, but he did draw a holding penalty as a pass rusher. He did not play any snaps, even on special teams, for the rest of the season.
With Anthony Chickillo yet to be re-signed and scheduled to be a free agent, Adeniyi is the ‘next man up’ behind T.J. Watt and Dupree, with 2017 seventh-round pick Keion Adams also returning in 2019 after spending the year on the practice squad.
Can Adeniyi crack the rotation and become a regular contributor in 2019? Can he even display the potential to be a starter, if not now then in the near future? He is the latest underdog romance, but still has a lot to prove on the field.