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Steelers News: Is this tight end draft class just what the Steelers need?

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

NFL Combine - Day 3 Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 season is officially over. After finishing the year 8-8, the Steelers, and their vast fan base, has another long offseason awaiting them. Just because the games are done doesn’t mean we stop providing you with features, commentary and opinions to tide you over throughout the offseason!

Today in the black-and-gold links article we take a look at how this 2020 NFL Draft class of tight ends might be just what the Steelers need to make their offense more dynamic this season.

Let’s get to the news:

  • The Steelers need some help at tight end, and could this draft class provide just what the team needs?

Tight end class likely to have Steelers calling

By: Joe Rutter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

As the Pittsburgh Steelers await ratification of the collective bargaining agreement and the salary-cap figure for the 2020 season, no position on the roster could be affected more by the outcome than tight end.

Vance McDonald has started the past three seasons, but he had a career-low 7.2 yards per catch last season. He will count $7,127,500 against the salary cap if he remains on the roster and less than $1.5 million if he is released.

With the Steelers already having the least amount of cap space among the 32 teams, according to spotrac.com, McDonald could be a cap casualty — depending on the 2020 allotment.

Backup Nick Vannett, acquired in an early-season trade with Seattle, is an unrestricted free agent and caught just 13 passes in 13 games with the Steelers.

It’s conceivable when training camp begins that 2019 fifth-round pick Zach Gentry will be the only holdover from the season-ending roster.

Such uncertainty is one reason the Steelers could target a tight end in the second round — no matter if they add a veteran in free agency or retain McDonald and/or Vannett once league business opens March 18.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • Minkah Fitzpatrick...not a fan of the Scouting Combine.

Minkah: ‘I was never a fan’

By: Teresa Varley, Steelers.com

This week current and former NFL players, college football players, football fans, pretty much everyone who follows football, will be tuned in to the NFL Scouting Combine on NFL Network.

Minkah Fitzpatrick won’t be one of them, though.

”I definitely watched it before I went,” said Fitzpatrick. “I don’t watch it now. Not at all. Now that I know what goes down there, I don’t watch it.”

It’s safe to say Fitzpatrick wasn’t a fan of the Combine. And to be real, let’s not sugar coat it. He didn’t like it at all.

”I was never a fan of the Combine,” said Fitzpatrick. “I don’t see the point of it. You have been playing college football for three or four years, you have all of this film. You get invited for a reason. But I have never been a big fan of it. I feel like for some people it hurts you more than it helps.”

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


  • The numbers of the combine can be both enthralling and confusing.

Combine focus: A numbers game

By: Matt Williamson, Steelers.com

Here is a mistake that far too many draft fans make. They go position by position and look to see who ran the fastest 40-yard dashes. That is great and all and obviously it is fantastic for a prospect to be able to run fast, but by taking this approach, fans overlook a massive ingredient in this recipe: weight.

This is especially true with skill position players and certainly applies to running backs and wide receivers, but let’s focus on the tight end position here. 17 tight ends ran the 40 at the Combine. Yes, that is a small sample size, but it is also a very manageable one.

Also, this group of tight end prospects has been really scrutinized as a weak class overall with just moderate depth and very little star power. Does that scrutiny jive with what we saw in Indianapolis from a testing perspective?

Without question, the star of the show was Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam. Okwuegbunam’s 4.49/40 destroyed the competition with the next best score at 4.66 tied from Brycen Hopkins of Purdue and Stephen Sullivan of LSU. But Okwuegbunam 10 pounds heavier than Sullivan and 13 pounds greater than Hopkins. Not to mention, Okwuegbunam had the second longest arms (to Sullivan) and fourth largest hand size of all the tight ends at the Combine.

To read the full article, click HERE (Free)


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