Nick Vannett acquired for Steelers’ tight end depth, not because of injury
Mike Tomlin was careful to repeatedly point out he was not ruling out Vance McDonald or Xavier Grimble to play in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ upcoming Monday night game. But he did acknowledge their lack of availability at points during this past Sunday’s game facilitated the need to acquire Nick Vannett.
The Steelers announced the trade of a 2020 fifth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for Vannett, a four-year veteran tight end whom Tomlin said he’s known since the 2016 draft process that resulted in Vannett being a third-round pick.
“Not that we are counting tight ends out this week,” Tomlin said of the status of McDonald and Grimble, “but their availability is in question. We need to fortify depth at this position.”
They got depth in the way of the 6-foot-4, 261-pound Vannett, who has 48 catches for 463 yards and four touchdowns over 42 NFL regular-season games. Vannett had a 13-yard reception when the Seahawks beat the Steelers at Heinz Field in Week 2.
That, as much as Tomlin’s annual visit to Columbus for what was Vannett’s Pro Day at Ohio State 3½ years ago, lent plenty of familiarity to the player the Steelers acquired.
“I don’t know if there’s anything that we’re juggling. We are just singularly focused on Monday night and winning this football game.”https://t.co/ZifIpr0dhd
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 25, 2019
“He made a few plays against us a week ago, in the vertical passing game and so forth that was really kind of consistent with what we expect and had seen from him,” Tomlin said, “and also, he was a handy (special) teamer. This is a guy who started on their punt team and their kickoff return team against us just two weeks ago.
“So he has an opportunity to be helpful to us even if Vance runs the course and is able to be available to us in the game. And let me say I am optimistic about Vance being available to us in the game — but he may be limited in some form or fashion, so adding quality depth like Nick is significant.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .