2022 Exit Meetings – DE DeMarvin Leal

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted before they even reached the postseason. That unfortunately marked the sixth-consecutive season in which the Steelers failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. Yet again, they found themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so did we.

The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-8 and nearly making the postseason, 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 retirement.

While we might not know what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2022 season.

Player: DeMarvin Leal

Position: DL

Experience: 1 Year

A third-round draft pick out of Texas A&M in 2022, DeMarvin Leal did not play a single game during his first year in the league in which he was not a part of the game plan. Although he missed six games due to an injury, he played meaningful snaps in every other game, including the season opener.

In fact, he was thrown into the fire a bit because the Steelers were compelled to use him on the edge after T.J. Watt suffered an injury late in the opener. He saw a good chunk of his overall playing time over the next four-plus games before getting injured.

In all, he played 175 defensive snaps, logging 14 tackles, including one tackle for loss, and three passes defensed. That being said, he still has a long way to go even if the raw talent is there, which is why the Steelers drafted him in the first place.

The first question the Steelers have to figure out is what size they want Leal. He has a frame that can support gaining or losing weight, possibly developing into defensive end or an edge rusher or somewhere in between as a chess piece. He can stand up or operate with his hand in the dirt.

With the team set to bring back Larry Ogunjobi on a three-year deal, they’re obviously not counting on Leal starting. That should hopefully provide him with the time and environment he needs to grow. His fundamentals still look pretty raw at times, and he needs to improve his hand usage, as well as his ability to use his hands and feet together.

But he Leal is just the sort of player who can make a pretty good second-year jump, and I’m hoping we get to see that out of him in 2023. That defensive line could certainly use it, especially with the lack of clarity behind him on the depth chart.

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