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Thread: Zach Gentry, TE

  1. #91
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    Pouncey puts wrap on spring practice, identifies top sleepers

    By JIM WEXELL

    PITTSBURGH -- The seer has spoken - although he spoke like a sportswriter.

    Yes, Maurkice Pouncey is overthinking his spring sleeper this year.

    At minicamp 2017, Pouncey easily identified Mike Hilton as the player to watch at training camp. Last year, the team captain called out rookie Chuks Okorafor following minicamp. Both Hilton and Okorafor made the team, started, earned coaching raves, and remain with the team.

    This year, Pouncey couldn't narrow it down to one player, only a position.

    "Man, honestly, it's going to be one of the young tight ends," Pouncey said. "I don't even know who it's going to be yet - maybe the guy we drafted from Michigan, maybe the undrafted kid, 87. But I think one of the young tight ends will be one of the guys. And obviously I like my Florida kid. He's looking really good in practice, too."

    Undrafted rookie guard Fred Johnson is Pouncey's "Florida kid." The 6-7, 326-pound Gator was playing right guard on the second-team line, even with David DeCastro, the first-teamer, back at practice. Johnson was the only rookie playing on the first or second line during veteran days at minicamp.

    Later in the afternoon, when Pouncey was pressed to make a call and not intellectualize his sleeper pick with team needs, he could only drop Johnson to honorable mention status.

    "The two tight ends are my picks," Pouncey said. "I like both of them. It's going to be out of those two because, you know, we need one of them."

    The Steelers return veteran tight ends Vance McDonald and Xavier Grimble, but they lost Jesse James in free agency, didn't re-sign Jake McGee or Ryan Malleck off injured reserve, and then released practice squad TE Bucky Hodges a day before the draft.

    To replace them, the Steelers signed No. 87, Kevin Rader, to a futures contract on January 9, and then selected No. 81, Zach Gentry, in the fifth round of April's draft.

    The Steelers also return English rubgy player Christian Scotland-Williamson to their roster via the NFL's International Player Pathway program, but he's still learning the game. They also added Texas A&M's Trevor Wood, a 6-6, 265-pounder with long-snapping ability, after the draft.

    But Pouncey chose Rader and Gentry, even though he couldn't find a particular order.

    "I haven't seen enough yet because we haven't done a lot since we don't have pads on, so I can't pick the guy," Pouncey said. "The other guys, like when I picked Hilton, it was like 'This (expletive)'s blitzing and picking plays off.' And Chuks played on the line so I already knew he could play. But out of those two guys, trust me, it's gonna be one of them. Mark my words now."

    Pouncey agreed to let one of the veteran tight ends break the tie, but the most tenured of that group, Grimble, couldn't decide.

    "Hmmmm, 81 and 87," Grimble pondered. "Too close to call. I have to wait till camp."

    Gentry consistently worked with the top groups during spring workouts. His touchdown on the last play of the final team scrimmage of minicamp sparked a raucous celebration for the offense.

    The 6-8, 265-pounder caught 49 passes at an impressive 16.7 yards per catch and scored four touchdowns in his only two seasons as a starter at Michigan. He grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and went to Michigan as a quarterback but was moved to tight end. When he arrived in Pittsburgh he was given his college number, 83, but acquiesced to Ben Roethlisberger's request to switch numbers out of respect for the great Heath Miller, who wore 83 throughout his 11-year career with the Steelers.

    Rader (6-4, 250) was born in Pittsburgh and attended Pine-Richland High in the north suburbs before heading off to Youngstown State as a defensive end. He was moved to tight end as a redshirt sophomore, caught 41 passes at 14.7 yards per catch, and was signed after the 2018 draft by the Green Bay Packers.

    Rader drew raves from Mike Tomlin on the practice field Tuesday after a downfield block inside the 5-yard line catapulted Tevin Jones into the end zone to complete a long catch-and-run.

    "That's my game," Rader said later. When asked if he meant downfield blocking, he said, "No, playing until the whistle."

    Rader grew up idolizing Miller and believes No. 83 should be retired by the Steelers.

    We'll have much more on both Gentry and Rader next week, but since Pouncey was in a talkative mood, he wanted to deliver one final spring comment on the evolution of the team's chemistry following a chaotic 2018 season featuring since-departed superstars Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown.

    "Everyone's locked in," Pouncey said. "It actually has a good feeling to it. Things have been fun at practice because it's all about football."

    Are the Steelers making a point of coming together?

    "Yeah," Pouncey said. "Honestly, man, it was all worth it. Things happen, man. When you have a relationship that's lasted so long, with so many ups and downs, some days I love 'em, some days I hate 'em. That's just how it is. Sometimes people don't understand the real meaning of that and what that actually leads to. But actually, man, things have been great. We appreciate everything that everybody's done in the past and there's no more talking bad about anyone. We respect everything they've done and we're glad for them. Go on and carry on your career somewhere else and be happy about it."

    Pouncey paused before putting a wrap on the spring.

    "I just like the whole vibe of the team," he said. "Everyone seems happy. Everyone's locked in. Everyone's having a good time."

    https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh...amp-132857971/

  2. #92
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    I'm pulling for Fred Johnson; has all the measurables we like. And has faced good competition in college. I think we all want Gentry to pan out as well. A lot of fans are looking/wanting that next great Steeler TE that they can identify with and Gentry could be that guy. No disrespect to Vance Mcdonald thou...
    From the 2010-2018 season, (An 8 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks. Our history has been defined by what we do in the postseason; not the regular season.

    My official proclamation: WE WILL NOT WIN ANOTHER SUPER BOWL WITH MIKE TOMLIN AS OUR HEAD COACH. SO WHY DELAY THE INEVITABLE?

    FIRE MIKE TOMLIN

  3. #93
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    That they can identify with? What does that mean?

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steel Maniac View Post
    I'm pulling for Fred Johnson; has all the measurables we like. And has faced good competition in college. I think we all want Gentry to pan out as well. A lot of fans are looking/wanting that next great Steeler TE that they can identify with and Gentry could be that guy. No disrespect to Vance Mcdonald thou...
    Interesting to see if Johnson can be Foster's replacement. Big dude.

    I think Gentry is going to surprise folks and be a big part of the offense, especially red zone, by the end of the season.

  5. #95
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    If Gentry could be that red zone target, just imagine all the weapons at Ben's disposal in the red zone?
    From the 2010-2018 season, (An 8 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks. Our history has been defined by what we do in the postseason; not the regular season.

    My official proclamation: WE WILL NOT WIN ANOTHER SUPER BOWL WITH MIKE TOMLIN AS OUR HEAD COACH. SO WHY DELAY THE INEVITABLE?

    FIRE MIKE TOMLIN

  6. #96
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    Tight end - The sleepers - Zach Gentry and Kevin Rader - are probably set in that order, with Rader the leader for the spot on the practice squad. If Gentry can handle the No. 3 spot on the roster, they won't have to pick a TE up off the final-cuts waiver wire.

    https://247sports.com/nfl/pittsburgh...elf-132903958/

  7. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oh wow View Post
    That they can identify with? What does that mean?
    Most Steeler fans can identify with a 6'8" 265 lbs. dude, right?

    Unfortunately, they can relate more to the 265 lbs. part and less with the 6'8" part.
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  8. #98
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    Steelers TE Kevin Rader: ‘I Can’t Let Up, Even For A Play’

    By Dave Bryan
    Posted on June 17, 2019

    The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 training camp in Latrobe once again should include several very good roster spot battles. One of those battles worth looking forward to as we sit here in the middle of June figures to be for the third and final tight end spot on the 53-man roster. The current combatants for that spot are Kevin Rader, Christian Scotland-Williamson, Trevor Wood and Zach Gentry, the team’s fifth-round draft pick this year out of Michigan. While Gentry will likely be considered the odds-on favorite to win the No. 3 tight end spot this summer, don’t sleep on Rader, a Youngstown State product, who spent all of last spring and summer with the Green Bay Packers.

    After playing his freshman season as a defensive lineman at Youngstown State, Rader converted to tight end as a sophomore. He went on to record 41 receptions for 601 yards and 4 touchdowns during his final three seasons that included him registering a career-high 22 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns as a senior. In his 2018 game against Pittsburgh, Rader caught 6 passes for 100 yards with a long reception of 36 yards. You can see all of those catches below.

    Rader is probably best-known for his amazing last-second touchdown catch in the 2016 FCS playoff gamer against Eastern Washington. That catch, which you can see below, included Rader reaching around a defensive player and then catching and pinning the football to the back of that player with his right hand. The two players then fell to the ground and Rader reached his left arm around the other side of the defender to secure the ball, resulting in a game-winning touchdown and a YSU berth in the FCS national championship game.

    At his 2018 Youngstown State pro day, Rader reportedly measured in at 6037, 250-pounds and ran his 40-yard-dash in 4.92-seconds. He ultimately went undrafted last year and quickly was signed by the Packers. While he played 32 offensive preseason snaps in three different games for the Packers last year, he was targeted just once and failed to register any stats. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Rader didn’t log any special teams playing time with the Packers during the preseason.

    The Steelers signed Rader to a Reserve/Futures contract this past January and recently the young tight end talked about how that opportunity came about for him.

    “When I came home from Green Bay, I didn’t know who was going to be contacting me,” Rader said, according to a recent story by Chuck Greenwood of the Morning Journal. “Honestly, I didn’t get many reps in the in the preseason games. I knew that was going to affect me, because they like to see film. I was home just working out, like I was before coming to the NFL, keeping my body in shape. My agent found me a number of options, but I grew up in Pittsburgh. I signed with the Steelers shortly after the 2018 season ended. I am excited to have the opportunity to be here.”

    Assuming he sticks around for this year’s training camp and the preseason, Rader knows that he faces an uphill battle when it comes to him ultimately showing enough this summer at Latrobe to warrant him winning a spot on the initial 53-man roster.

    “I can’t let up, even for a play,” said Rader, according to Greenwood. “I have to be ready and able to execute.”

    Rader figures to get a lot more preseason playing time this year than he did last year and one has to imagine that will include him also being able to show what he can do on special teams. Sure, he’s probably a long shot to make the Steelers 53-man roster this year, but he’s a player to be aware about once training camp gets underway just the same. He’s been able to stick on the offseason roster since January and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/st...en-for-a-play/

  9. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    Steelers TE Kevin Rader: ‘I Can’t Let Up, Even For A Play’

    By Dave Bryan
    Posted on June 17, 2019

    The Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 training camp in Latrobe once again should include several very good roster spot battles. One of those battles worth looking forward to as we sit here in the middle of June figures to be for the third and final tight end spot on the 53-man roster. The current combatants for that spot are Kevin Rader, Christian Scotland-Williamson, Trevor Wood and Zach Gentry, the team’s fifth-round draft pick this year out of Michigan. While Gentry will likely be considered the odds-on favorite to win the No. 3 tight end spot this summer, don’t sleep on Rader, a Youngstown State product, who spent all of last spring and summer with the Green Bay Packers.

    After playing his freshman season as a defensive lineman at Youngstown State, Rader converted to tight end as a sophomore. He went on to record 41 receptions for 601 yards and 4 touchdowns during his final three seasons that included him registering a career-high 22 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns as a senior. In his 2018 game against Pittsburgh, Rader caught 6 passes for 100 yards with a long reception of 36 yards. You can see all of those catches below.

    Rader is probably best-known for his amazing last-second touchdown catch in the 2016 FCS playoff gamer against Eastern Washington. That catch, which you can see below, included Rader reaching around a defensive player and then catching and pinning the football to the back of that player with his right hand. The two players then fell to the ground and Rader reached his left arm around the other side of the defender to secure the ball, resulting in a game-winning touchdown and a YSU berth in the FCS national championship game.

    At his 2018 Youngstown State pro day, Rader reportedly measured in at 6037, 250-pounds and ran his 40-yard-dash in 4.92-seconds. He ultimately went undrafted last year and quickly was signed by the Packers. While he played 32 offensive preseason snaps in three different games for the Packers last year, he was targeted just once and failed to register any stats. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Rader didn’t log any special teams playing time with the Packers during the preseason.

    The Steelers signed Rader to a Reserve/Futures contract this past January and recently the young tight end talked about how that opportunity came about for him.

    “When I came home from Green Bay, I didn’t know who was going to be contacting me,” Rader said, according to a recent story by Chuck Greenwood of the Morning Journal. “Honestly, I didn’t get many reps in the in the preseason games. I knew that was going to affect me, because they like to see film. I was home just working out, like I was before coming to the NFL, keeping my body in shape. My agent found me a number of options, but I grew up in Pittsburgh. I signed with the Steelers shortly after the 2018 season ended. I am excited to have the opportunity to be here.”

    Assuming he sticks around for this year’s training camp and the preseason, Rader knows that he faces an uphill battle when it comes to him ultimately showing enough this summer at Latrobe to warrant him winning a spot on the initial 53-man roster.

    “I can’t let up, even for a play,” said Rader, according to Greenwood. “I have to be ready and able to execute.”

    Rader figures to get a lot more preseason playing time this year than he did last year and one has to imagine that will include him also being able to show what he can do on special teams. Sure, he’s probably a long shot to make the Steelers 53-man roster this year, but he’s a player to be aware about once training camp gets underway just the same. He’s been able to stick on the offseason roster since January and that’s an accomplishment in and of itself.

    https://steelersdepot.com/2019/06/st...en-for-a-play/
    I see NOTHING here that excites me about this kid.

  10. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Lemming View Post
    I see NOTHING here that excites me about this kid.
    possible practice squad player...

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