2021 NFL Draft: Why did Steelers pick Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth?

TE Pat Freiermuth while playing with Penn State.
TE Pat Freiermuth while playing with Penn State.
Bethany Cohen
Modified 01 May 2021

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have found their next Heath Miller-style tight end by drafting Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth with the fifty-fifth overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday night.

With the fifty-fifth overall pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected tight end Pat Freiermuth out of Penn State. The selection was announced by none other than Penn State and Pittsburgh Steelers great Franco Harris. After selecting Alabama running back Najee Harris in the first-round on Thursday night, some wondered what route Pittsburgh would take. Drafting a tight end definitely fills the need, just as drafting a running back did.

Pat Freiermuth Stats:

Height: 6’5

Weight: 258 pounds

Hometown: North Andover, Massachusetts

As a three-year starter at Penn State, Pat Freiermuth caught 24 touchdowns totaling 1,531 receiving yards: passing Mike Gesicki’s school record. He had ninety-two catches in his Penn State career, averaging 12.9 yards per carry. Freiermuth had a shortened 2020 season after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. Pat Freiermuth and quarterback Sean Clifford had great chemistry and was his “go-to” in the red zone, due in part to his ability to make plays happen. One of the main reasons Freiermuth was not drafted in the first round of the NFL draft was the injury and his inability to perform at Penn State’s Pro Day because he was still recovering from the shoulder surgery.

2021 NFL Draft: Steelers Select Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth

Freiermuth might just be the best candidate to fill the open tight end spot that was left open after Vance McDonald retired at the end of the 2020 season. Freiermuth is a versatile tight end that is not only is a great receiver but a great blocker as well. Known as “Baby Gronk” for his size and blocking abilities, Freiermuth could bring a Heath Miller type of presence to the offense. Freiermuth along with veteran tight end Eric Ebron, should make a dynamic duo. Ebron’s ability as a receiver and Freiermuth’s ability to block will help new Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada create a versatile offense. Which should give life to the end-of-year offensive performance by the Steelers last season.

Before Penn State:

As a four-year starter at Brooks School in Massachusetts, Pat Freiermuth, a four-star recruit with over twenty scholarship offers, played offense as well as linebacker on the defense. Freiermuth was also a basketball player in high school.

Published 01 May 2021
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