Tall tight end Zach Gentry goes to Steelers in 5th round
The Pittsburgh Steelers replaced a tight end they once drafted in the fifth round by drafting another one in the same round Saturday afternoon.
Michigan tight end Zach Gentry was taken No. 141 overall by the Steelers. It was the pick the Steelers acquired when they traded wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders.
The Steelers were in the market for a tight end after backup Jesse James signed with the Detroit Lions in free agency.
James, who stood 6-foot-7, was the tallest tight end on the Steelers roster. Gentry, at 6-8, 267 pounds, is even taller.
Gentry, though, is a converted quarterback. He was recruited to Michigan to throw passes, but he ended up catching them after coach Jim Harbaugh convinced him to change positions.
Gentry admittedly didn’t embrace the switch in his redshirt freshman season.
“Not at first because the only position I had played my entire life was quarterback,” Gentry said. “When I sat down with Coach Harbaugh, he laid out for me what he thought would be best for my future with my body frame.”
Gentry didn’t have a catch that season, but he moved into a starting role in 2017 when he caught 17 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns. In 2018, he caught 32 balls for 514 yards and two touchdowns, then declared for the draft with one year of eligibility remaining.
“I’ve worked a lot in the offseason about building my frame a little bit and making myself strong,” Gentry said. “I feel good about my body.”
Like James, Gentry has the size to be a viable option for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the red zone and across the middle.
“I’m a big target,” Gentry said, “but I think i’ll be able to take some hits as well because of my size.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .