As has already been reported earlier on this site today Phillip Gaines and Ra'Shede Hageman are in Pittsburgh today for meetings with the Steelers. According to Bob Labriola and his ever watchful eye on the comings and goings at the Steelers facility, good things usually come in threes.
Draft visits today for @Steelers: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: Rob Blanchflower, TE, UMass; Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice— Bob Labriola (@BobLabriola) April 17, 2014
Given Labriolas consistency in breaking this sort of news we can safely add Rob Blanchflower a tight end from the University of Massachusetts to the ever growing list of names the Steelers have met with over the past few weeks. Blanchflowers visit would be the 24th out of a permissible 30 visits the team has scheduled so far and is the first tight end they have hosted.
Blanchflower seemed to be a jack of all trades at UMass. During his time at college there he lined up as an H Back, out in the slot as well as the more traditional inline position. He has good size for the position at 6-foot-4 and 260 and what he may lack in speed and agility he makes up for it with his strength and blocking ability.
While his qualities in the run game are what gets him noticed he has a decent pair of hands and is a good route runner and while he is not going to bust a play wide open with his speed he looks to have enough pace to create separation and will lay a lick on any defender looking to take him down,
He was unable to take part in the UMass pro day as he was still recuperating from a bilateral sports hernia that he picked up midway through last season that caused him to miss six games and had surgery to repair the problem in December. Blanchflower was expected to hold a private workout for teams on April 23rd but his visit to Pittsburgh suggests maybe he is closer to recovery than expected.
Blanchflower looks likely to be a day three selection from the fourth round onwards and has the look of a second team tight end in his future. He would possibly be a suitable replacement for Matt Spaeth who is a free agent in 2015 but looks unlikely to challenge for a starting spot. He certainly could be an upgrade over David Paulson or Michael Palmer as the third tight end this year.