For many in the Steelers fanbase, the value of second-year tight end Zach Gentry is virtually unknown, and with good reason.
During is tenure at the University of Michigan, Gentry made the transition from quarterback to tight end prior to his sophomore year. In the two seasons at that position, his production was good enough to be noticed by the Steelers, and be selected in the fifth round of last year's NFL Draft.
Yet with all the potential, the Steelers are currently in dire need to see that potential actualize into something great this upcoming season. As stands, the landscape at the tight end position does not look promising. To begin, the status of current starting tight end, Vance McDonald is worth reviewing. Though it is likely McDonald's option will be picked up for this upcoming season, his biggest obstacle has always been his health; an obstacle he acknowledged contributed to his lack of production in 2019.
If one is to look beyond both Gentry and McDonald, there is little to no substance in depth at the tight end position. Nick Vannett, who was acquired early in the 2019 season by trade, made few contributions on offense. Then you have a former rugby player turned football player Christian Scotland-Williamson, who has yet to play a regular season game, since joining the organization in 2018.
While he is still a student of the position, Gentry himself acknowledged that being a spectator during his rookie season was a difficult process.
"It's always tough as a competitor,"he told Steelers writer Teresa Varley. "I was inactive for a lot of the games, just watching. That is tough as a competitor being on the sidelines watching".
For Gentry, who showed flashes of offensive upside last preseason performance, his evolution will be vital to adding a second option at the tight end position. Perhaps this year's NFL Draft could present another chance for the Steelers to add some depth, the door is still every much open for Gentry to rise to the occasion and cease the opportunity of being their tight end of the future.