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Zach Gentry finds himself staring at a role on the Steelers’ 53-man roster

The Pittsburgh Steelers third year tight end might have a role for himself on this 2021 roster.

Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers tight ends are a mixed bag of players. You have the athletic, pass catching tight end in Eric Ebron. The young, brimming with talent Pat Friermuth. But who could be the genuine two-way tight end who can both run and pass block? Is there someone on the roster who could be a Matt Spaeth type player who is used as a blocker, without having to deploy an extra offensive lineman?

Could it actually be Zach Gentry? You know, the 2019 5th round draft pick out of Michigan. Remember him?

Gentry relatively disappointed in his rookie season, and his 2020 season was cut short due to a knee injury. While most forgot about Gentry as a viable player on the roster, Gentry has started with transforming his body to the point where media are noticing the change.

Gentry’s 6-foot 8-inch, 265 pound frame would seemingly be ideal for the role of a blocker in the NFL, and throughout training camp he has impressed in this area. So much so Mike Tomlin had this to say about Gentry after the Steelers’ padded practice Saturday.

In that practice, Gentry showed a physicality which was certainly noticeable. When asked if he has an appetite for the one-on-one blocking drill, here was Tomlin’s response.

“He did. But, boy, we’re gonna put him in more circumstances. The tight end position is a unique one because of the challenges that they face week in and week out in the NFL. Some weeks they’re blocking outside linebackers, some weeks they’re blocking big men, four-three ends. And so that’s why some tight ends look like Pat [Freiermuth] and some tight ends look like Zach. Zach is a guy that has a skillset and a body to match up with four-three people, and so he better distinguish himself in those circumstances.”

Gentry has a long way to go, and a lot to prove throughout the Steelers’ four game preseason which is about to start Thursday night when the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame game. Players like Gentry will see the field a lot this preseason, and if he can prove himself worthy of a roster spot he absolutely will help the team at a position of need.

Sure, it may have taken longer than some might have hoped, but as they say, better late than never. With the tight end depth thin, Gentry can solidify a spot on the 53-man roster if he can prove capable this preseason. He’s certainly already made an impression in training camp.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.