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 the fifth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—a new record for the franchise since the merger. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-7-1 and making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from the majority of the offensive line to Mike Hilton, Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, and Vince Williams—not to mention Stephon Tuitt, essentially.
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 2021 season.
Player: Derek Watt
Experience: 6 Years
Quite frankly, I’m only writing about Derek Watt here because I know that if I don’t, there’s a good chance I’m going to forget to cover him after I get through the starters. Not even if you squint and smack yourself on the head can you distort your perception enough to view Watt as a starter for the Steelers.
The sixth-year fullback, in his second season with the team, played a total of 86 snaps on offense last season across 17 games. That amounted to just seven percent of the total number of snaps. And yes, the bulk of that was in obvious running situations, as you might imagine, but it was no given that he would be featured as a lead blocker on those plays.
Of course, the Steelers brought in Watt primarily as a special teams ace (and no, his signing had literally zero to do with any efforts to make sure T.J. Watt signs a long-term extension). To that end, he was named special teams captain this year, and logged 332 snaps in that phase—which is actually not the most in his career.
But he finished with 14 tackles. Pro Football Focus has him with 13, which is tied for the third-most special teams tackles in the NFL last season, behind only J.T. Gray of the Saints and Ashton Dulin of the Colts. Ulysees Gilbert and Justin Layne both finished with 10-plus tackles as well, tied for the top 13.
Watt did record one carry last year—a fullback dive on 4th and 1 for one yard. He also caught three passes for 15 yards. That is the second-fewest touches he’s had in a season in his career—behind only his first year with the Steelers, during which he didn’t touch the ball a single time. Of course, his career-high in touches is 10, so it’s not like there’s a huge gap, nor a crying need to get the ball in his hands.