NFL Draft

Year One Impact: TE Zach Gentry

Well, I have been harping about getting a tight end, and oh, I got one, just not nearly the one I wanted nor where I would have ever taken the guy. With Dax Raymond, Donald Parham, and others on the board, the Steelers took Zach Gentry and crushed my hopes and dreams, quite honestly.

Now, I get it, Pittsburgh needed someone to replace the Jesse James role, there was no doubt about that, but I fail to see how Gentry does that at all. He tested horrifically bad, to the point where historical indicators say that he has very little chance of succeeding, and if he does, he sure is an outlier.

With a good blocker on roster in Xavier Grimble, I suppose going for more of a receiver in Gentry is okay. His contested catch and ball skills are by far his best attribute, that is no doubt. Gentry wins those all the time in red zone and it is probably why he stays at a TE3 on the roster.

Where would I use him? Flex him outside into the slot and let him stalk block because that is where he is most effective. He works up the seam really well, has some surprisingly quickness in his route running and releases, and can win over there, but Gentry does not add all that much outside of that quite honestly.

His shaky hands, bad functional strength, lack of physicality, bad hand usage, terrible leveraging, and stiffness in the open field are huge problems for him overall. Gentry cannot reach block anyone and rarely gets to the second level when he is tasked with doing that. He really is just too stiff in his hips to do that.

Gentry sticks around in this league because he is 6’8” and can make catches over guys all the time. His catch radius is huge and he can beat guys up the seam, but this does not move the needle to replace what they once had in Jesse James. In year one, Gentry likely does not see that many snaps outside of one the goal line and whatever exotic 3 TE sets they decide to use, but I do not expect to see much of him.

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