2022 Stock Watch – TE Pat Freiermuth – Stock Up

Now that the 2021 season is over, bringing yet another year of disappointment, a fifth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the season and into the offseason as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.

Player: TE Pat Freiermuth

Stock Value: Up

Reasoning: While he was expected to be able to produce as a rookie, Pat Freiermuth proved that he was pretty much everything the team thought he could be, and did so in his first season, with an emphasis on his reliable hands and his ability to find the open spaces in the red zone.

Pat Freiermuth has already given fans plenty of things to like about him, but my favorite thing is the fact that he still has so much more room to grow. The Penn State product had a strong and productive rookie season, but he has the talent to be a top-10 or better all-around tight end in the NFL.

From a pure numbers standpoint, he caught 60 passes for 497 yards and seven touchdowns. The yards per catch stands out, but it’s important to understand that he was rarely given much to work with in terms of opportunities to run after the catch, and overall he did a fine job with what he was given. This is an area in which he can grow, however, and should grow.

Freiermuth caught 26 passes on third down, resulting in 18 conversions or touchdowns. Many of those failed conversions were on third and 10-plus yards, the majority of those being 14 or more yards. It all establishes the fact that he made himself a go-to target in clutch situations.

Of course, the season wasn’t entirely perfect. He did have a couple of dropped passes, and a poorly-timed fumble at the end of overtime that prevented them from attempting a potential game-winning field goal with one of the best kickers in the game. There were a couple of plays in key situations that he failed to come down with, even if they were of a high degree of difficulty. He can make those plays.

And the more he grows, the more of them he will make. He also figures to grow as a blocker, and as a downfield presence. He has the route-running and enough athleticism to be a threat 10-plus yards beyond the line of scrimmage. It’s only a matter of development and getting the offense in place that can execute that.

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