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Steelers News: For Justin Layne and Zach Gentry, their positional transitions aren’t complete

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Time to check on the latest news surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2019 NFL Draft in the rear view mirror, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2019 season is fast approaching, and the news surrounding the black-and-gold is far from over. As the team now turns their attention to more offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp, there is no shortage of news.

Today in the Black-and-gold links article we take a look at two members of the 2019 draft class, Justin Layne and Zach Gentry, who still have work to do as they continue their positional transitions.

Let’s get to the news:

  • If you have done your homework on Justin Layne and Zach Gentry, you would know that the two players used to play other positions. Gentry was a quarterback and Layne a wide receiver. Now, they are a tight end and a cornerback. Getting drafted is amazing, but their transitions are far from complete.

Steelers draft picks Justin Layne, Zach Gentry ‘still learning’ after college position switches

By: Chris Adamski, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Gentry, a New Mexico native, was ranked the No. 8 pro-style quarterback in the country for the Class of 2015. He ended up a 6-foot-8 tight end for Michigan.

And Gentry wasn’t the only Steelers middle-round draft pick who was a four-star recruit who ended up switching positions. Third-rounder Justin Layne was the top-rated wide receiver in Ohio when he committed to Michigan State in 2015 as part of the next year’s class.

But the 6-3 Layne was moved to defense midway through his freshman season; Gentry likewise had abandoned quarterback for tight end by the time he hit the field as a redshirt freshman.

As somewhat-raw prospects with higher ceilings because of the relative lack of experience at their drafted positions, Layne and Gentry fit a profile of players the Steelers sometimes tend to be drawn to come draft time.

To read the full article, click HERE


  • The Steelers have the need...the need for speed. While this is a quote from the movie Top Gun, it also can be true for the team’s defense. Thankfully, both Mark Barron and Devin Bush will be a nice injection of speed into the group.

Bush, Barron inject speed in middle of defense

By: Dale Lolley, DKPittsburghSports

When the Steelers went into training camp in 2017, their depth at inside linebacker consisted of Tyler Matakevich backing up both the Mack and Buck positions manned by Ryan Shazier and Vince Williams, respectively.

But one of those things was not like the other, something the Steelers found out the hard way when Shazier suffered a severe injury to his lower spine Dec. 4 that year in a game at Cincinnati.

Unfortunately for them, Matakevich suffered a shoulder injury in that game, as well, forcing the Steelers to sign Sean Spence off his couch and also use L.J. Fort in that spot. It was a less than ideal situation and one that helped lead to a playoff loss to the Jaguars.

The team attempted to place a Band-Aid on that position in 2018, signing veteran Jon Bostic to slide into the spot beside Williams and adding safety Morgan Burnett to play a linebacker role in the dime package.

That didn’t work, either.

To read the full article, click HERE


  • Many among the Steelers fan base wanted the team to address the safety position at some point in the NFL Draft. Someone they may have forgotten about was none other than Marcus Allen.

Allen: ‘When it was game time, it hurt’

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

If there is one thing Marcus Allen learned his rookie season, it’s that that he doesn’t want to experience something like it ever again.

“It definitely was tough,” said Allen. “Something that I’ve never experienced before. Throughout my whole football career I’ve never had to sit the bench and wait for my opportunity. It was new to me. It definitely humbled me and matured me more. It made me want to grind even harder because I know the ropes and I know what it takes to become that starter and become who you want to be in the league.”

Allen, one of the Steelers sixth round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, was on the active roster all season. But when game day rolled around, the young safety was anything but active. In 14 of 16 games Allen was on the inactive list, playing only against the Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals.

“It was definitely a mental challenge because you fall for something for so long and then to not be able to play all year,” said Allen. “When it was game time, it hurt. But it just make you stronger. That’s what Coach (Mike) Tomlin talks about all the time, going through things that make you stronger. Football teaches you a lot.”

To read the full article, click HERE


  • Ryan Shazier, the entrepreneur?!

Alba Tull, Ryan Shazier debut fitness facility in Sewickley

By: Stephanie Hacke, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Fresh off of his Friday night wedding, Shazier said it was important for him to be at Ramp ‘N’ Rize’s opening the next day. Along with being a shareholder in the fitness studio, he also is close friends with the Tull Family, who he said attended his wedding.

“We always had a really close relationship, and they’ve always been supportive of me and the community. I definitely wanted to be involved,” he said.

His new wife couldn’t make it to the opening of Ramp ‘N’ Rize, as the couple had about 40 family members still at their house on Saturday, Shazier said.

Shazier echoed Tull’s sentiments that Sewickley is a great place to debut Ramp ‘N’ Rize.

“The people in Sewickley, I feel like, they definitely want to stay constant in their health and they definitely want to grow when it comes to working out. I think it’s a great place to start out,” he said.

To read the full article, click HERE


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