Pittsburgh Steelers’ tight end Pat Freiermuth took the NFL by storm as a rookie in 2021, doing something many rookie tight ends haven’t done in the last decade or so: putting up significant numbers right away in an NFL offense.
Historically, the tight end position features the largest learning curve in the NFL, as tight ends coming from college to the NFL struggle to adjust to the game quickly, resulting in subpar seasons overall before taking a significant jump in Year 2.
That wasn’t the case for Freiermuth last season, who hauled in 60 receptions for 497 yards and seven touchdowns last season from Ben Roethlisberger in what was ultimately the final year with the Steelers for the future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Now, ahead of his second season with expectations being rather large for the second-round tight end, Freiermuth is adjusting to a new quarterback under center, whether that be Mason Rudolph, Mitch Trubisky, or Kenny Pickett, and is aiming to meet a challenge provided to him by Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin.
That challenge? Getting stronger and getting his body right for the rigors of the 2022 season that’s to come with him being a focal point of the passing attack once again.
“I showed some good things last year, but I think just taking my game to the next level and be more consistent in the run game and pass pro. In the offseason I really went after it,” Freiermuth said to Steelers.com’s Teresa Varley. “Coach T threw a challenge my way and I went after it.”
According to Varley, Freiermuth put on some size in his upper body, adding mass to his frame overall. However, Freiermuth added that he’s actually lighter than he was as a rookie, though he feels he’s stronger than he was last season entering the NFL.
That seems to make sense on the surface as Freiermuth entered the NFL coming off of a season-ending shoulder injury at Penn State that prompted him to eventually enter the NFL Draft. How that shoulder injury and surgery affected him as a rookie is something only Freiermuth knows, but the thought of him being stronger and further healed from that injury should be a concerning thought for opposing defenses, especially now that Freiermuth has the answers to the questions, to steal a Tomlin-ism, ahead of his second season.