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: Elijah Riley
Experience: 3 Years
Elijah Riley will be the last offensive or defensive player we look at for the Steelers’ 2022 season before wrapping up with five specialists (remember, they used three different kickers). He spent every day of the regular season with the team, even if much of it was on the practice squad.
A college free agent out of Army, he spent his first season and then some with the Philadelphia Eagles before finding his way to the New York Jets in 2021. He started seven of eight games there, logging 386 snaps with 45 tackles (three for loss) and a pass defensed.
The team released him, however, on August 23, 2022, and the Steelers claimed him off waivers. Riley did not make the initial 53-man roster and was signed to the practice squad the following day. He was elevated for a couple of games before being signed to the 53-man roster on December 24.
Yet he ended up playing all of 20 defensive snaps for his time here across four games active, along with 25 snaps on special teams, recording five tackles for his efforts. According to Pro Football Reference, Riley allowed one 2-yard catch as the primary target in coverage, albeit on an extremely limited sample size.
Riley likely sits currently sixth on the safety depth chart, behind Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, Keanu Neal, Tre Norwood, and special teamer Miles Killebrew. It would be rather hard for him to make the team from where we’re currently sitting, but he would be an option, at worst, to remain on the practice squad.