3 young Steelers who should be promoted over unspectacular veterans

James Pierre #42 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
James Pierre #42 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
2 of 3
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (81) Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

Steelers TE Zach Gentry

At some point, the Steelers have to understand that a player’s current performance outweighs their pedigree and reputation. Eric Ebron was a former 10th overall pick and was one of the most productive tight ends in the league in 2018 with Andrew Luck on the Colts. However, he has been far from a great player in Pittsburgh.

Though Ebron has played 214 snaps for the Steelers in 2021, the athletic tight end has managed to garner just 60 receiving yards on 15 targets. If Ebron isn’t being a menace in the passing game then what does he offer? Blocking certainly isn’t his forte, and PFF currently has him ranked as the 71st out of 72 tight ends in the NFL this season.

On the other hand, Zach Gentry has played quite well in limited action this year. At 6’8” and 265 pounds, the mammoth tight end is an excellent in-line blocker who can act as an extra offensive tackle in running situations. Though he’s not a great athlete, his hands have been very reliable this season and he has a terrific catch radius.

Rookie Pat Freiermuth has been far and away the best tight end on this team in 2021 — I don’t think anyone is going to debate that. However, I think Gentry offers much more as the number two tight end thanks to his stellar blocking ability (think Matt Spaeth). I think Ebron should be benched for a younger tight end who has been performing at a higher level this season.