Any time you can put yourself in a conversation with a franchise’s G.O.A.T. at a position, you know you have done a really good job. So far that’s exactly what Steelers rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth has been able to did in his inaugural season. Freiermuth was the highest tight end selection of the Pittsburgh Steelers since they took Heath Miller in the first round back in 2005, and his on field success matches their high draft selections. The Penn State alum has been putting up yards, receptions, and scores like nobody’s business and has a real shot at surpassing the legendary Steelers tight end in some key receiving categories.
Heath Miller’s rookie stats:
Pat Freiermuth’s current stats:
Pat Freiermuth’s projected 17 game stats:
As you can see, the Steelers current tight end should surpass everything Miller was able to achieve as a rookie. And with veteran tight end Eric Ebron possibly done for the season, Freiermuth’s target share is only going to increase. Another high factor is the Steelers actual usage of the tight end position in this offense. It is clear the team uses the big-bodied receivers more now than ever before. If the Steelers used similar target share philosophies back in the mid-2000’s then I think we would be talking about Miller as a Hall of Fame candidate right now. The extra game will also push Freiermuth’s stats over the top, but this is something we will have to learn to deal with as every major stat will/should fall over the next few seasons.
Freiermuth has the potential to be the greatest statistical tight end the Steelers have ever seen. With a more modern offense he should also see a boat load more targets than Miller ever received in his career. But we shouldn't scoff at his blocking abilities either. While Miller was a devastating blocker and virtually incomparable to someone who would be more comfortable lining up in a two-point stance, Freiermuth is a pretty good blocker in his own right.
All in all, the Steelers look to have a pretty good player on their hands. If he can continue to build on these numbers Pat Freiermuth could go down as one of the best to ever do it for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but only time will tell. So what do you think? Will Pat Freiermuth finish the 2021 season with higher stat totals than Heath Miller did back in 2005? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.