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2019 Player Exit Meetings – T Chukwuma Okorafor

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: Chukwuma Okorafor

Position: Tackle

Experience: 2 Years

The 2019 season did not go as Chukwuma Okorafor was hoping, as it saw him take a step back relative to Zach Banner. After spending his rookie season (even before Marcus Gilbert went down) active as the swing tackle, and used as the tackle-eligible, Banner took over the active role, and Okorafor spent most of the 2019 season as a healthy scratch.

A 2018 third-round draft pick, he was viewed as a raw prospect who would take time to develop. After all, he had only begun to play tackle five or six years before he was drafted, having grown up in different African countries before his family came to the US when he was older.

Still, his rookie season showed promises that his second didn’t really live up to. In spite of the fact that the team did opt to let him start at right tackle when there was an opportunity for him to do so, with Mike Tomlin saying after that game that they wanted to leave Banner in the tackle-eligible role, the fact that he was only active for one game is not a positive sign.

And the reason why could be seen during his performance in the preseason. A lot of the snaps that he took at that time were actually at left tackle, but he has to perform well on both sides. That’s the entire idea of the ‘swing’ tackle.

That’s not to say that hope is lost. He is still just 22 years old and has plenty of opportunities to improve his game. He has already had a position coaching change within his first two seasons, so having more stability in year three should help him. There is a not impossible path that sees him as the starting right tackle when the 2020 season opens.

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