Pat Freiermuth Says Darnell Washington Addition Will Free Him Up In Offense, Require Him To Block Less

Pat Freiermuth is never going to be known as a tremendous blocking tight end. That’ll forever be the difference between him and Heath Miller even if they’re very similar as receivers. But the Pittsburgh Steelers adding TE Darnell Washington in the third round of the NFL draft will take some of the demands off Freiermuth. And he knows it, expressing that sentiment to reporters following Tuesday’s OTA practice, noting Washington and Zach Gentry will be large and in charge when it comes to the run game.

“I think they’re gonna play well with each other and obviously it’s gonna help me kind of get open and kinda take the load off the blocking,” Freiermuth said via the Steelers’ PR department.

Washington and Gentry are among the biggest tight ends in the league. Washington is 6’7, 260 pounds with arms nearly as long as first round OT Broderick Jones while Gentry is pushing 6’8 and probably around 270 pounds. Pittsburgh’s designing a run-first offense this year with big people up front and Washington and Gentry can further that mission.

Freiermuth’s blocking is better compared to his rookie season but he doesn’t have the bulk or the length his teammates do. What he offers is one of the better receiving tight ends in the game with a great feel for leverage, beating zone coverage, and showing burst at the top of his route to run away from man. We recently highlighted the three key ways Freiermuth wins as a receiver.

Pittsburgh should be able to more effectively mix and match 11 and 12 personnel, switching from run to pass personnel in order to keep defenses on their toes. Freiermuth will still have to block and Washington certainly can catch, even if he didn’t do much of it in college, and it should make for a far more balanced offensive approach.

“It’s a great climate in our room right now,” Freiermuth said.

Freiermuth and Washington are roster locks. Gentry isn’t in that same boat but if Connor Heyward is thought of a fullback/H-Back, the team can still keep three “true” tight ends with Gentry being the third. His playing time will be impacted by Washington but he’ll offer key depth should there be an injury ahead of him.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!