The Steelers Need At Tight End

By Jess Costello

One of the Pittsburgh Steelers least talked about move this off-season is the tight end Jesse James making his way to the Detroit Lions. The Steelers have already lost prime offensive talent following Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell’s departure.

James logged over 850 offensive snaps for Pittsburgh in 2015 and 2016. Even at his peak, James wasn’t used nearly as much as he could have been since the Steelers offense ran through Brown and Bell. That won’t be the case anymore in Detroit.

James will be the clear target-tight-end within an offense that doesn’t have an apparent superstar. However, before getting excited about James’ appeal in fantasy football, the Lions targeted tight ends the second-fewest times in the NFL last season. This doesn’t mean that the Lions will keep that consistent now that they have a new offensive weapon, but it’s surely something to watch for.

This is what the tight end depth chart looks like for the Steelers just days away from the draft:

Vance McDonald

Last season, McDonald was the top receiving target between Pittsburgh’s tight ends. He also finished fourth on the team with 50 receptions. McDonald should see more action this year now that James and other key offensive pieces are officially gone. It never looked like there was much to the passing offense at tight end in prior seasons.

Xavier Grimble

Xavier Grimble takes over the 2 spot on the depth chart by default. His famous play came last season when he fumbled against the Denver Broncos. We’ll see if Grimble is capable of taking on a heavier workload this season.

There’s a couple of ways to look at the Steelers need at tight end. If Pittsburgh continues to use tight ends as blockers and only the occasional scoring target, the Steelers may not address the position at all in the draft.

But if the Steelers want to try to replace some of the production lost this offseason, a high draft pick could be a smart move for Pittsburgh.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!


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