The Pittsburgh Steelers are going into camp this year with six tight ends on the roster. Heath Miller has been one of the most underrated players in the NFL his entire career. Matt Spaeth, when healthy, is a solid number two player.
Heath and Spaeth being 100 percent healthy is a storyline this camp however, the real intrigue comes from the guys behind them.
Michael Palmer is an ok blocker though he has not really shown any ability as a receiver. Honestly the only reason Palmer got as much playing time as he did was because of injuries and the fact that David Paulson severely underperformed.
Palmer has as good a shot as any in this group to earn a roster spot due to his experience in the offense. It’s nothing personal against Palmer but I’m really hoping someone can overtake him as the number three guy.
David Paulson shocked me at least when he even made the team as a seventh round pick a couple years ago. Going into last season Paulson seemed poised to step up as a possible offensive weapon.
When his shot came when Heath and Spaeth went down however, he disappeared. Paulson is more known for his fumble early in the season against the Cincinnati Bengals than anything else in his short career.
To make things worse, Paulson was then passed on the depth chart by Palmer and basically was never heard from again in 2013. The third year tight end will have to show major improvement in his overall game in my opinion to have a shot at a roster spot.
For the second time in the last three years, the Steelers drafted a tight end in the seventh round. As far as seventh round picks go though, I feel that Rob Blanchflower has a great opportunity at a roster spot.
Blanchflower is a decent blocker and can develop into a nice offensive weapon for Ben Roethlisberger. If not for Palmer and Paulson being veterans, I would put Blanchflower in the lead for the third tight end spot.
Cutting a seventh round pick obviously wouldn’t put a damper on the upcoming season but it certainly would be disappointing to see in this situation.
Eric Waters rounds out the tight ends on the roster and has the worst chance at making the team. The undrafted free agent does remind me of current Steelers’ fullback Will Johnson however, he would have to have an almost perfect camp to have a shot at a roster spot.
I actually think there is a good chance that the Steelers keep four tight ends on the final roster.
My prediction going into camp would be Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Rob Blanchflower and Michael Palmer if they do indeed keep four.