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: Dan Moore Jr.
Experience: 1 Year
It’s a weird feeling knowing that we’re only seven profiles into the exit meeting series and we’re already on our third rookie. But that was one of the major stories of the 2021 season, a heavy reliance upon their draft class, which included four starters on offense.
One of those starters was Dan Moore Jr., the left tackle out of Texas A&M who was the Steelers’ first pick of Day 3 in the fourth round. Originally, he was going to start the season as a reserve, but after Zach Banner had a setback with his knee, Chukwuma Okorafor slid back over to the right side from the left, and Moore was plugged in on the left side, where he is more natural.
He certainly took his lumps through much of the year, to be sure. He gave up a lot of pressures, but often they reminded me of Max Starks, typically more ‘soft’ pressures that a quarterback can easily avoid. Not a ton of blast hits, though there were those, too.
Moore has gotten a lot of criticism from fans for his play, but he had a pretty consistent upward trajectory throughout his rookie season, which is all you could really ask for from him. He had comparable starts to Kelvin Beachum and Alejandro Villanueva in their growing pains, and neither of them had to do that as rookies.
He has the makings of a franchise left tackle. I’m not guaranteeing Pro Bowls and All-Pros in his future, but there is nothing in his game nor his profile that would tell you that he can’t succeed at a high level if given the proper instruction and surrounded with talent.
He has the potential for a level of physicality at the left tackle position that we haven’t seen in a long time, as well. That could potentially help the Steelers be more ambidextrous in the run game if he really pans out. He certainly has to get better, and definitely more consistent, but year one was not a bad start.