4 long shots who could make Pittsburgh Steelers roster in 2021
By Tommy Jaggi
TE Kevin Rader
The Steelers are set with their top two tight ends. Last year for most of the season, they rolled with just two tight ends getting a hat on game day. There’s a chance that that will change with Matt Canada’s offense in 2021.
Eric Ebron and Pat Freiermuth are both expected to be heavily involved in the offense this year. It’s likely that Ebron will work more like the “F” tight end with Freiermuth as more of the traditional “Y” (or in-line) tight end. But with how heavy of an emphasis the team is putting on fixing the running game this offseason, these two may not be enough.
We know that Ebron doesn’t offer much as a blocker. Freiermuth is willing in this department, but they could use another tight end who specializes in this area. Waiting in the wings are Zach Gentry, Dax Raymond, and Kevin Radar. Of the three, Gentry is the only player the team has invested draft capital into, but he has shown very little over the past two seasons, and Pittsburgh could be willing to demote him to the practice squad if one of the others clearly wins out.
Raymond is more of a receiving tight end than a true in-line blocker. This could give Rader the leg up. The Pittsburgh native isn’t a great athlete or receiver, but he’s a gritty competitor with plus blocking skills. He has a chance to make it as the team’s third tight end in 2021.