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Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 Exit Interviews: DeMarvin Leal and Larry Ogunjobi

Both players made an impact on the Steelers defensive line their first season in Pittsburgh.

NFL: DEC 11 Ravens at Steelers Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2022 NFL season has come to a close. Because the Steelers are among the 31 teams who did not finish fulfilling their ultimate goal, they are in the process of wrapping up their season and moving forward into 2023.

Since the Steelers conduct exit interviews with all their players, we here at BTSC thought we would do the same. By outlining two players each day, we will be able to look at their season in retrospect as well as looking toward the future. Since Coach Tomlin has previously stated he starts his interviews with rookies, first year players, and those heading into free agency, we will do the same. To start, we will pair a potential free agent with a first-year player as we work through this process to eventually cover the entire Steelers roster.

Next up are defensive linemen DeMarvin Leal and Larry Ogunjobi.

DeMarvin Leal

Pittsburgh Steelers v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

Position: Defensive line
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 1
Contract Status: Signed through 2025
Contract Details: $1,178,840 salary cap hit for 2023. Would cost the Steelers $714,216 in dead money if released while saving $464,624.
Games played in 2022: 11 regular season
Games started in 2022: 2 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 175 (defense), 13 (special teams)
PFF score: 46.0 (DNQ for ranking)
Notable stats: Leal finished his rookie season with 14 tackles, one of which was for loss, and three passes defensed.

Notes: After getting his first career start in Week 5 against the Buffalo Bills, DeMarvin Leal landed on IR after having knee surgery and missed Week 6 through Week 12 of his rookie season. Easing back in with a small number of snaps his first two games back, Leal got his second start of the season against the Baltimore Ravens where he played over half the snaps as part of their atypical 6-2 alignment to combat the Ravens rushing attack. With plenty of versatility which the Steelers utilized his rookie season, Leal has the size to play inside of the defensive interior yet also can slide outside when the Steelers need. Bringing a different set of traits the typical player at the position, particularly with his size and speed, Leal’s versatility is something the Steelers will look to continue to utilize in 2023 and beyond.

Larry Ogunjobi

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Position: Defensive line
Years with the Steelers: 1
Years in the NFL: 6
Contract Status: Free Agent
Contract Details: Contract expiring with no dead money.
Games played in 2022: 16 regular season
Games started in 2022: 16 regular season
Snaps (regular season): 636 (defense), 55 (special teams)
PFF score: 61.7 (60th of 125)
Notable stats: Ogunjobi had 48 tackles in 2022 with seven being for loss. He was credited with 1.5 sacks and 11 quarterback hits.

Notes: Larry Ogunjobi signed a one-year deal with the Steelers for $8 million after a failed physical kept a larger, multi-year deal from going through with the Chicago Bears. Coming through as a significant complement to Cam Heyward on the defensive line, it’s difficult to say what Ogunjobi will bring on the open market for 2023. While many Steelers fans would like to see him return to help keep the defensive line intact going forward, whether or not there is interest by both parties at a reasonable number will be the main question. When it comes to the Steelers unrestricted free agents heading into the 2023 league year, Ogunjobi may be one of the more difficult ones to predict.

Make sure you check back each day for another set of exit interviews. If you have missed any of the previous articles, they are listed here:

Kenny Pickett & Mason Rudolph
George Pickens & Miles Boykin