Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers selected nine players at eight different positions over the course of the 2019 NFL Draft, there are still a number of areas of the roster at which many are finding fault. By far the three positions most frequently cited are safety, tight end, and outside linebacker, even though they drafted players at the latter two.
The outside linebacker they drafted, however, is undersized, and the tight end is underexperienced. Tight end is often cited as of particular concern because of the lack of a proven number two player at the position and the history of injuries that dogs Vance McDonald at the top of the depth chart.
With number three tight end Xavier Grimble being retained on a restricted free agent tender, the Steelers added former quarterback Zach Gentry, who has played the tight end position for the past few years at Michigan. He still has a lot to learn though, particularly in the blocking game, and many wonder how soon he will be able to contribute meaningfully.
That’s why a lot of people think it’s the area of the roster the Steelers are most likely to continue to address in some way, shape, or form over the course of this offseason. Alex Kozora even had the team carrying four tight ends, with a player yet to be named, on his first 53-man roster prediction of the long offseason.
Count in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette top man Gerry Dulac as among those who don’t believe the Steelers will remain idle here. In response to a question in a recent chat session about depth at certain positions on the roster, he offered, “they will address tight end before training camp”, but he didn’t think that would be the case for other areas.
Of course he makes no mention of whether this is a sense that he got from having actual conversations with people or if this is simply what the thinks will happen through deductive reasoning, so it’s impossible to ascertain how useful this information is. But if they do add somebody, based on the roster construction, the logical position to address would be tight end.
After all, they did it with McDonald in 2017 after adding him via trade in late August. On the roster at the time were Jesse James, Grimble, and David Johnson. They weren’t content with that group, so they wanted to make a significant addition, and were able to do so.