The Pittsburgh Steelers ended the 2019 season much as they did the 2018 season, by allowing their playoff fate slip out of their grasp. Slow starts and slow finishes permeated both campaigns, with strong runs in between. But while the results were the same missing the playoffs, the means were quite different.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we. But that they still managed to go 8-8 without Ben Roethlisberger, and with the general quality of play that they faced along the way, I suppose things could have been worse.
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: Artie Burns
Experience: 4 Years
I don’t believe there has ever been a Steelers draft pick made by Kevin Colbert that was more universally met with criticism than was the selection of Artie Burns in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. And one could argue that he was the only true first-round bust of the era for the team, though most would also include Jarvis Jones into the mix.
Four years later, in hindsight, it’s quite obvious that Burns was overdrafted, and equally obvious that the Steelers reached to fill a need—or perhaps even worse, significantly misevaluated him as one of the top talents among cornerbacks in that class. And we might never have even known this had William Jackson III fallen just one pick further.
The best year of Burns’s career was his rookie season, in 2016. He opened the year as the dime defender, quickly graduated into the nickel, and by midseason was a starter. All the while, they limited what they put on his plate (even in dime, for example, he played on the outside).
Under these limitations, he was able to find success amid the mistakes, leading the team with three interceptions, for example. He would have ups and downs through his first full season as a starter in 2017 before losing his job early in 2018 and never getting it back.
Entering 2019, it wasn’t even certain that he would make the team. While he did, he was relegated to special teams for most of the season, although he was given the chance to start when the man they signed to replace him, Steven Nelson, was injured for one game. He performed somewhat serviceably in a win.
That was the last and only time he would play on defense last season, and by year’s end, he would find himself a healthy scratch, rookie Justin Layne having shown more apt on special teams. Burns already told reporters at the end of last season that he has every intention of getting a fresh start with another organization, and it’s safe to say the Steelers will not be interested in retaining his services, either.