For many players on NFL rosters, relationships with teammates have to be a bit complicated. On one hand, you are friends working toward a common goal in an effort to become Super Bowl champions. On the other, you are fighting tooth and nail to hold onto your role on the team.
This is a situation players are all too familiar with and one that is sure to play out with the Pittsburgh Steelers again in 2023. Omar Khan just loaded up on talent in the NFL Draft, and there are a handful of hungry rookies looking to take a bite of the apple on the Steelers this year.
Having a sudden surplus of talent at some positions is obviously great for both the team and for fans. However, some players may be forced to take a back seat. Here are four Pittsburgh Steelers players who could lose their jobs to rookies in 2023.
4. Zach Gentry could lose his job to Darnell Washington
This isn't hard to envision. In fact, it's what fans expect to happen very early in the 2023 season -- possibly right from the gate. Some draft analysts believed that Darnell Washington could sneak into the back half of the first round thanks to his freakish size and athletic testing at the tight end position. Ultimately, he fell all the way to the 93rd overall pick in the third round due to some teams failing his medicals.
Washington claims that there are no issues whatsoever with his knees and that he simply had some swelling during the pre-draft process. At 6'7'' and 270 pounds, Washington has a remarkably similar frame as Zach Gentry, but he was a significantly better prospect coming out of school and a much more powerful blocker.
In addition to his people-moving ability, Washington tested as an elite athlete and has the ability to stretch the seam and catch the ball outside of his framework. Washington should supplant Gentry very early in his NFL career, and Gentry -- the former fifth-round pick out of Michigan -- could go back to simply being a reserve player who only sees the field in emergency situations.
Gentry has been a solid 'Y' tight end and a great compliment to Pat Freiermuth, but Darnell Washington will take his job in 2023.