Intriguing positional battles for Pittsburgh Steelers in 2023

Steelers, Levi Wallace
Steelers, Levi Wallace / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 4

Steelers TE2 and TE3:

Darnell Washington vs Zach Gentry vs Connor Heyward

Assuming he's healthy -- and there's reason to believe that he isn't after playing 15 games last year -- Darnell Washington should become the TE2 in Pittsburgh. Washington is tailor-made to play the 'Y' tight end position and should be a perfect pairing with Pat Freiermuth.

But as much as the Steelers seem to like him, the 93rd overall pick isn't guaranteed to take over Zach Gentry's role right away. Gentry is the veteran who knows the system very well at this point. Washington is going to have to catch on quickly, but the talent gap between these two will be visibly notable at training camp.

When Washington does win the job, the question then becomes: what do the Steelers do at TE3? It sounds like Connor Heyward could be playing more of a true fullback/H-back role this year for Pittsburgh. If this is the case, Gentry will ultimately act as the third tight end.

However, if the team decides that they don't want to designate a spot to a fullback (or fourth tight end, depending on how they look at it). There could be a battle between the smaller, but more versatile Heyward or the bigger in-line blocking tight end in Gentry. All four of these tight ends do seem likely to make the team. Now it comes down to jousting for position after Pat Freiermuth to open the year.