Pittsburgh Steelers position update: TE

August, 15, 2014
Aug 15
7:00
PM ET
This is the third in a series that takes a post-training camp look at every Pittsburgh Steelers' position. Next up is tight end.

Players on the roster: Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth, Michael Palmer, David Paulson, Rob Blanchflower and Eric Waters.

Miller
Projected starter: Miller. The 10th-year veteran is still one of the best all-around tight ends in the NFL. Miller should be better this season after practicing during the offseason as well as in training camp, something he couldn't do in 2013 because of a torn ACL.

Projected number on 53-man roster: Three. That number is a tick low but the Steelers can save a spot at this position since Will Johnson will play a lot of tight end and Mike Adams can be used as a third tight end in the Steelers' jumbo package. What is still very much in question is who the third tight end will be after Miller and Spaeth.

Rookie watch: I think Waters is more on the Steelers' radar than Blanchflower is, even though they drafted the latter. Waters, who signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent, is more athletic and physical than Blanchflower. At worst he makes the practice squad unless his play drops off sharply in the final two weeks of the preseason. It is go time for Blanchflower if the seventh-round pick intends on making a serious push for the 53-man roster or even practice squad.

What we learned in camp: The Steelers are not especially deep at tight end and the opening is there for a promising youngster like Waters to emerge and play his way onto the roster. The Steelers like Palmer, who's a veteran, because he blocks and plays special teams but he is a non-factor in the passing game. Paulson caught a lot of passes at St. Vincent but he is even more expendable than Palmer. Johnson gives the Steelers a solid third tight end and allows them to keep Palmer if they don’t want to lose his special-team contributions, or one of the rookies if they don't think they will be able to sneak that player onto the practice squad.

He said it: “Certainly we have some guys that are talented (but) that doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things because everyone can look at their roster and feel good about where they are right now. We have to work on being cohesive as a unit and we’ll see.” -- Miller on the potential of the Steelers' offense.

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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