The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted before they even reached the postseason, which unfortunately marks the sixth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. 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 9-8 and nearly making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Haden to most of their wide receiver room, not to mention Stephon Tuitt’s decision to retire.
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 2022 season.
Player: Chukwuma Okorafor
Experience: 5 Years
Now five years into his NFL career, what can we say about Chukwuma Okorafor? He’s a three-year starter now beginning in 2020, although that’s on a technicality. He lost the starting job to Zach Banner in training camp, but Banner tore his ACL in the opener.
Either way, he’s now logged 52 starts, including 48 in the past three seasons. He’s been pretty durable, playing more than 1000 snaps in each of those seasons, missing only one game during that time. He played all but one snap in 2022.
How good is he, though? It’s a question worth asking when considering that he is due to earn $10 million this season ($6 million in base salary and $4 million in the form of a roster bonus in late March). That’s not cheap for a starting right tackle, even if the top of the market is far higher than that—nearly double.
Well, Okorafor is…solid, usually. One thing I think it’s worth noting is that he significantly cut down on his penalties, having only three accepted penalties against him all year. And one of them was for illegal formation, another for ineligible man downfield. Only one holding penalty, no false starts. He had eight accepted penalties last season.
In terms of play, he’s had to adjust to a number of different coaches over the course of his career already, first with Mike Munchak, then to Shaun Sarrett, then Adrian Klemm, and finally Pat Meyer. I think he may finally find a ‘home’ in Meyer’s system, with the hope that he can continue to improve.
Inconsistency has been the biggest issue for him over the course of his career, and it remained so last season. He had a few excellent games, including the late game against Carolina, but there are still duds. The blocking scheme giving him help has been effective, though.