Early 53-man roster predictions for Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Tight ends (4):

Steelers roster prediction: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington, Zach Gentry, Conner Heyward

The first two are pretty standard. Pat Freiermuth will resume his role as a top tight end, and the depth behind him has only improved. This should allow him to move around more and be more of a receiving threat out of the slot as opposed to just as a traditional tight end.

I do expect Darnell Washington to become the de facto number two tight end by the time camp is through. He is such a natural blocker that I think he quickly establishes himself as the second option. Even if he struggles as a receiver early on, he should see plenty of snaps due to his blocking ability.

Zach Gentry rounds out this group as a capable third option. He will likely be inactive for some weeks as the team schemes around opposing offensives. Injuries and a desire to run heavier sets will still allow him to get some snaps, but his role will likely be reduced. That said, I still think his roster spot is pretty safe.

Conner Heyward rounds out this group, and he should see an expanded role as an offensive weapon. He can line up as a traditional tight end and serve as a utility fullback. Because of his versatility and inability to be a true tight end at all times, the team keeps four here in anticipation of heavier sets. These guys can all wear different hats, so I like the team going heavier here.