3 fringe Steelers players who will make the roster, and 2 who won't

Steelers, James Pierre
Steelers, James Pierre / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
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Steelers fringe player that will make the roster: TE Zach Gentry

While I am a bigger fan of Zach Gentry than most, I can also recognize that his roster spot is far from secure. While Gentry has done a great job of going from a low-end tight end to a find reserve and blocker, he may be redundant in this offense.

Darnell Washington was drafted in the third round of the draft this offseason, and while rookie tight ends typically have a bit of a learning curve, he could have a role instantly as the main blocking tight end. He has the size and technique to excel there early on. That could quickly push Gentry into the third tight-end role.

That alone won’t keep Gentry off this roster. This offense is being built to run the ball, and having ample big-bodied tight ends would make sense. Gentry is earning the minimum, so he can easily slot into that third role with ease.

The question becomes what role will Connor Heyward have with the team in 2023? While he will retain, and ideally build on his success as a rookie, he may also incorporate fullback work into his repertoire. If he does, the team will keep four tight ends and Gentry will retain his spot.

If he doesn’t, or if rookie Monte Pottenbaum really impresses in camp, Gentry will likely be the odd man out. That said, he has developed into a steady option that seems fine being used mostly as a blocker. I’m guessing he sticks around on this new-look offense for the 2023 season.