2020 Pre-Training Camp Roster Review: Tight End

The last time that we took a look back at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster in review, it was weeks before the 2020 NFL Draft took place. It would be safe to say that quite a bit has changed since then, and the changes apply to almost every position on the roster, some major changes, some minor.

We are closing in on the opening of the Steelers’ several weeks of training camp, this time not at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, so it would be a good time to pause and take stock of where the team stands at each position as we head into the most critical process of the offseason.

Position: Tight End

Total Positional Figure: 5

Additions: 0

Deletions: 0

Players Retained:

Vance McDonald: The Steelers facing a cap crunch, McDonald actually took a bit of a pay cut this offseason. He had a down year, after being injured in Week 3, and of course the rest of the season was played without Ben Roethlisberger. He was hard on himself for his play after the season was over, but this year is about bouncing back.

Eric Ebron: A Pro Bowler two years ago. A down year playing through injury last year. Who is the Eric Ebron that the Steelers are getting? He has seemed to be thrilled to sign here since the deal was made. He should be a presence in this offense.

Zach Gentry: An unpolished rookie last year, Gentry spent most of the season as a healthy scratch. He is among the tallest players on the entire roster, so the Steelers would love to be able to make use of that big frame if he can show expected growth.

Kevin Rader: Rader spent 2019 on the team’s practice squad. He is a fairly typical fringe tight end prospect, who did show some decent work in the preseason last year, but he is up against the wall in terms of making the roster.

Christian Scotland-Williamson: Then there’s the Englishman with the double last name. The rugby player has been on the practice squad for the past two years thanks to a roster exemption as an international pathway program player. He showed a modicum of progress last year, but this offseason hasn’t given him a chance to get the physical reps he very much needs.

Players Added: N/A

Players Lost: N/A

Notes and Camp Outlook: 

The Steelers, as you can see above, have made no changes to the tight end depth chart since free agency, neither adding nor subtracting to the group. In free agency, they swapped out Nick Vannett for Eric Ebron, and that move was sufficient enough to believe that they can stand pat here.

With respect to training camp, there will be some things of interest. Don’t expect a roster battle—Rader is a practice squad guy—but we will want to see how Gentry develops in his second season. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to get in physical reps, so that is frustrating. With Ebron, it will just be good to see him healthy after having surgery at the end of last season. And seeing how they use two-tight end sets in the offense.

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