The final in a position-by-position series examining the Steelers roster in advance of the start of free agency on March 10:*
(Free Agent Scorecard: 2 unrestricted free agents – Michael Palmer, Matt Spaeth)
A No. 7 pick, the 230th overall selection, in last April's draft, Blanchflower wasn't quite ready for prime time when the mandatory roster cut was held on Aug. 30, and so he spent the year on the practice squad. He will be 25 in June, he's 6-foot-4, 256 pounds, and there seems to be a winnable spot available on the depth chart.
Signed to a futures contract, Egnew was the third tight end picked in the 2012 NFL Draft – 78th overall by the Dolphins – and he has spent time already with Miami, Detroit, and Jacksonville. He's 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, but the Dolphins waived him after two seasons because they claimed he didn't improve over the course of his first couple of NFL seasons.
Photos of the Steelers Tight Ends during the 2014 season.
While undoubtedly closer to the end of his career than the beginning, Miller nonetheless had a fine season in 2014. He started all 16 games and played virtually every offensive snap in all of them at the age of 32, and his 66 catches for 761 yards represented fine production for a tight end in an offense also containing the NFL's leading receiver and its No. 2 running back. Because of Le'Veon Bell and the interest the Steelers have in running the football, their tight end cannot be an overweight wide receiver. Miller blocks, both in-line and on the move. He will be 33 next October.
Added during the summer of 2013 because of a rash of injuries at tight end during training camp, Palmer carved out a niche for himself on special teams. In his two seasons with the Steelers, Palmer caught one pass each year, with 2014's being a 1-yard touchdown in Jacksonville. He also had two special teams tackles in each of his seasons here. When Matt Spaeth was injured this season and the Steelers needed an extra blocking tight end, they turned to Mike Adams. Blanchflower's presence likely signals the end of Palmer's time here.