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Zach Gentry might leave for the NFL, but should he?

Michigan’s tight end has a decision to make.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Northwestern Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan tight end Zach Gentry is preparing for the Peach Bowl, but once the game ends he’ll be focusing on a huge decision he’ll have to make.

Stay at Michigan for his senior season, or head to the NFL.

According to Gentry he has received a good draft grade from the NFL advisory panel.

“It was a good area for me, I think, but you never know. We’ll see,” Gentry said.

Gentry hauled in 30 receptions on the year for 475 yards, and 2 touchdowns. 15 of his 30 receptions went for over 15 yards, some of which were impressive grabs in traffic.

Gentry is a huge target at 6-8, with plus-athleticism and good speed for the tight end position. However, Gentry is far from a finished product.

The question is should Gentry leave for the NFL? This isn’t an easy question to answer by any means. There are pros and cons.

We know Gentry received a grade he liked from the advisory board, but that alone shouldn’t fully persuade a player to leave for the pros. A major reason Gentry received a good grade is likely because there just aren’t that many vertical threat tight ends that also have a fighting chance as run and pass blockers. NFL teams will see Gentry’s measurables, 40-yard dash time and see the upside that could make Gentry a potential 2nd or 3rd round pick.

If Gentry was to leave for the pros, it would be entirely understandable, but it’s not a slam dunk decision. Gentry could probably benefit from another year at Michigan. Heading to the NFL is an attractive choice, but sometimes when a player isn’t ready for the next level they don’t play beyond their rookie contract and get buried on a depth chart.

While that point may not be the case for Gentry, there are areas of his game he could improve upon, areas that scouts are fully aware of. In Michigan’s two losses, Gentry had memorable plays, memorable drops that would have been touchdowns and first down conversions. Gentry also wasn’t able to gain separation against the fastest defense he faced, Ohio State, where he was held without a catch before being knocked out of the game with a concussion.

Gentry only had two games where he recorded over 3 receptions, with 7 for 112 yards against Maryland and 4 for 95 yards versus SMU.

Against the toughest teams on Michigan’s schedule, Gentry didn’t fare as well:

  • Wisconsin: 1 reception- 5 yards
  • Michigan State: 2 receptions- 21 yards
  • Penn State: 2 receptions- 18 yards
  • Notre Dame: 2 receptions- 11 yards
  • Ohio State: Zero receptions

While game flow may have played into the less than stellar numbers in these games, and scouts look at how routes are being ran on plays that don’t go for a catch, the fact remains Gentry didn’t light up the stat-sheet against some decent teams on Michigan’s schedule.

If Gentry is to come back to Michigan he would have another year with Shea Patterson and it would be fair to say their rapport would only grow on the gridiron. A year older could mean Gentry will be stronger, smarter, faster, and really take it to the next level as a collegiate player.

There’s a lot to like about Gentry, but it might be wise for him to stick around at Michigan in 2019 and polish his route running, red-zone prowess, pass catching, blocking, and other facets that make a tight end dangerous and versatile.

Whatever Gentry decides to do will come with a risk. If he returns in 2019 he could get hurt, if he heads to the NFL he might not be ready and his career doesn’t pan out the way he hoped. Or maybe the best possible outcome would transpire with either decision made.

We’ll likely find out what Gentry’s decision is in the next couple of weeks.