Steelers’ Pat Freiermuth Just Misses Out On Cracking ESPN’s Top 10 TEs In Execs, Coaches, Players Survey

Despite a breakout season as a rookie, surprising many across the NFL at the tight end position, Pittsburgh Steelers’ second-year standout tight end Pat Freiermuth still has some work to do to crack the top 10 at the position.

According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, who compiled a survey of 50 league executives, coaches, scouts and players to help ESPN stack the top 10 players at 11 different positions, Freiermuth just missed out on the top 10 after a great rookie season, landing in the honorable mention category at the tight end position Thursday morning, along with the likes of Miami’s Mike Gesicki, Cleveland’s David Njoku, and Arizona’s Zach Ertz.

As a rookie, Freiermuth was a trusted weapon of veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s, hauling in 60 passes for 497 yards and seven touchdowns for the black and gold, quickly finding his game in the NFL at a position where the learning curve is historically steep.

While tight end talent continues to grow in waves across the NFL, it was a bit of a surprise to see Freiermuth miss out on the backend of the top 10 Thursday morning, falling behind the likes of Dallas’ Dalton Schultz, Buffalo’s Dawson Knox, and New England’s Hunter Henry. Where those three seemingly had an edge over Freiermuth in the survey? Blocking.

“He’s really, really impressed me,” an AFC offensive coach said in Fowler’s survey. “Just a good football player, has a feel for how to get open, athletic, tough. Needs to work on his blocking.”

Freiermuth certainly had flashes as a blocker in 2021, namely in his NFL debut against the Buffalo Bills. That said, he still has some work to do, as the AFC offensive coach pointed out. Nobody is going to mistake Freiermuth for being a high-level blocking tight end anytime soon. That said, he can hold his own in that category, becoming a true three-down, complete tight end in today’s NFL.

As a receiver, he was mostly unmatched across the league, in terms of his catch rate and ability to make plays in tight windows.

He caught 75.9% of his targets, including 61.5% of his tight-window passes, which was second among tight ends in 2021, per NFL Next Gen Stats.

Freiermuth has consistent hands. He won’t drop many passes, and his hands are strong and soft enough to make plays in traffic routinely. Now, with quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett in the fold, as well as some key offensive additions in the passing game in rookies George Pickens and Calvin Austin III, Freiermuth should see a jump in his numbers in 2022, especially in receiving yards now that the middle of the field will be utilized in the passing game post-Roethlisberger.

Should he see a jump in numbers and overall production, I have no doubt that the second-year tight end will find himself in the top 10 next season in ESPN’s survey.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!