The Pittsburgh Steelers have some high level of interest in Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth way ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft so with that news circulation since his pro day took place, it’s probably a great time to contextualize his targets from the 2020 season.
For his college career at Penn State, Freiermuth caught 92 passes for 1,185 and 16 touchdowns over the course of the last three seasons. For the 2020 season, however, Freiermuth caught just 23 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown. His season was cut short by a shoulder injury suffered against Ohio State. For the purpose of this contextualization post, I watched all four of his 2020 games against Indiana, Ohio State, Maryland, and Nebraska and charted all his targets. That play-by-play data of those 35 total targets is below.
In total in the four games that I watched from last season, Freiermuth caught 23 of his 35 total targets. Freiermuth did register a healthy average intended air yard distance of 8.97 yards on those 35 total targets. Additionally, his average air yard completion distance was 8.04 yards. It’s worth noting, however, that one of those 23 receptions was 41 yards down the field and thus it skews his average on such a small sample size of catches. Take that blown coverage reception out and Freiermuth’s average air yard completion distance was just 6.55 in 2020. Additionally, seven of those 23 receptions came less than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage.
While Freiermuth did register a nice 5.65 yards gained after the catch in 2020, 33 of those 130 total yards gained after receptions once again came against Nebraska on the aforementioned blown coverage play. Freiermuth also had two drops in 2020 as well.
Overall, I found Freiermuth’s 2020 tape to be lackluster and not what I really expected. It was only four games worth of tape, however, and just 35 total targets, which isn’t a lot. Most of the 35 total targets you can watch below.
I’m not ready to draw any hard conclusions based on Freiermuth’s 2020 target tape and especially with him getting injured during the second game. I will, however, be contextualizing all Freiermuth’s 2019 targets so look for that post soon. That 2019 tape should give us a much better idea as to who Freiermuth really is and if he should be considered a second-round prospect this year.
Each play that I charted is linked in the table below.