The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks a slight improvement from the past two seasons, during which they did not even qualify for the playoffs altogether. They have now done four seasons without securing a victory beyond regular season play.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
They did manage to go 12-4 during the regular season, and secured their first AFC North title since 2017, posting a new franchise record by opening the season with 11 consecutive wins, but of course it all fell apart after that. Their only victory after that required a 17-point comeback.
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 2020 season.
Player: Carlos Davis
Experience: 1 Year
Wrapping up the defensive line portion of the exit meeting series is the newest and youngest of the group, 2020 rookie seventh-round draft pick Carlos Davis out of Nebraska. Seemingly coming into the league, and onto the team, during a time that wasn’t ideal, Davis would defy the odds simply by making the 53-man roster.
The Steelers were already returning Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, Tyson Alualu, Isaiah Buggs, and Daniel McCullers from the previous season, despite losing Javon Hargrave in free agency, and they added Chris Wormley in free agency, so this was the group that was anticipated to make the 53-man roster.
No doubt in part due to the new rule in the CBA that allows a certain number of veteran players to be included on the practice squad, however, Davis was kept on the 53 over McCullers, who initially was on the practice squad before the Chicago Bears signed him weeks into the season.
Davis began the year as a healthy scratch, but as time went on, he started to dress over Buggs as the top backup defensive tackle, even if he didn’t play a significant amount, though he did manage to make a couple of impactful plays, and certainly showed potential.
What’s all the more impressive was that he continued to dress in an odd year when they had seven defensive linemen on the 53-man roster, which they pretty much never do, after calling up Henry Mondeaux from the practice squad.
Coming out of college, he was regarded as a physically talented underperformer. Perhaps with the right coaching from Karl Dunbar, the Steelers can maximize his talents and develop him into a long-term contributor—possibly even eventually their primary nose tackle when Alualu retires.