The Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t have to travel far to visit the next Power Conference Pro Day workout. This workout would be the one at Penn State University, or happy valley as some like to call it. You can always tell from who the Steelers send to these workouts how serious they take certain prospects.
This isn’t to suggest workouts where Mike Tomlin or Kevin Colbert don’t attend means they don’t care about those potential players, but when the front office brass is there, you should pay attention.
As you would expect, Mike Tomlin was there, along with his new tight end coach Alfredo Roberts.
Speaking of Roberts, he was spending a lot of time with tight end Pat Freiermuth. In fact, he put him through a laundry list of position drills during the workout.
New Steelers TE coach Alfredo Roberts is getting an up-close look at Pat Freiermuth, putting him through the position drills at Penn State pro day.— Brian Batko (@BrianBatko) March 25, 2021
For those who don’t know much about Pat Freiermuth, here is breakdown of him, via The Draft Network:
Pat Freiermuth projects as an impact receiving tight end at the professional level. Freiermuth has a prototypical build for the tight end position and ample ceiling as a blocker to continue to develop into a quality asset with his hand in the dirt in the run game. But today’s NFL is ultimately rooted in the passing game and tight ends are the new-age mismatch weapons that put defensive play-callers in a bind. Freiermuth can be that caliber of a receiver thanks to his blend of size, hands, route-running, and physicality in the secondary. Freiermuth burst onto the scene as a freshman at Penn State and incrementally became a bigger piece of the passing offense, culminating in 2020 with several high-production contests before a shoulder injury ended his season prematurely and forced him to undergo surgery. The medicals here will be something NFL teams must vet, as well as exploring his lack of development as a blocker. As Freiermuth has developed his body and added muscle during his time at Penn State, the assumption was that he would continue to progress as an in-line blocker; but we never really saw that leap in that chapter of his game, even once he returned for the 2020 season. But Freiermuth’s value to an NFL franchise won’t be rooted in run blocking; it will be in his versatility as a receiver and the mismatches he’ll win in coverage. That is where the value for tight ends lies anyway, so the deductions on Freiermuth’s pre-draft evaluation for blocking are only marginal. He still feels destined to be an impact player in an NFL offense.
Ideal Role: Hybrid role with a primary focus on F alignment (early in career).
Scheme Fit: 12-personnel heavy offensive system, spread concepts to isolate in space.
For those who love to see the numbers of prospects like Micah Parsons and Jayson Oweh. Jim Nagy provides you with the numbers you want:
Official pro-day results @PennStateFball juniors:— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 25, 2021
LB Micah Parsons
Arm 31 1/2
Wing 78 7/8
40-yd 4.39 (NFL scout ⏱️)
DE Jayson Oweh
4.39 (1.59 10-yd)
The Penn State linebackers are impressive, but when you watch Oweh run the 40-yard dash in 4.36, based on a hand held timer, it is impressive. Check it out for yourself below:
What kind of prospects are Parsons and Oweh? Here are breakdowns of the two Nittany Lions:
Micah Parsons projects as a dynamic impact player at the NFL level. Parsons, who elected to opt-out of the 2020 college football season, has two seasons of high-impact play on his film resume and his impact was only further affirmed as the Penn State defense fell apart without him on the field for the 2020 season. Parsons, who was a prized recruit as a pass rusher coming out of high school, is still ironing out some of finer points of play processing on the second level but his freakish combination of size and explosiveness allow him to explode and drive into gaps when he sees the play develop and as a result he’s a persistent winner of beating ball carriers and blockers to the spot between the tackles. Parsons is an impact player on third downs, which significantly boosts his value to pro teams and masks some of the inexperiences of transitioning to stack linebacker. He’s a dynamic blitzer and has the versatility to rush against offensive linemen and claim victories to get home to the quarterback. Parsons has illustrated an incredible level of pure instinct for the game thus far and his ability to navigate the line of scrimmage and rip at the football to create turnovers is best accentuated in an aggressive front defense that will task him with playing forward early in downs and not ask him to make flat footed reads before scraping and flowing to the ball.
Ideal Role: Long-term starting MIKE Linebacker (Could benefit from playing stacked OLB early in career)
Scheme Fit: Multiple Front, Blitz Heavy, Attack Defense
Jayson Oweh projects as a developmental edge defender at the pro level. With rare length and athletic tools, Oweh has plenty of potential and his ceiling as a prospect is that of a 10-plus sack per season pass rusher. There’s explosiveness, bend, length, and ample room to build onto his frame. But any team drafting Oweh early is going to have to do so with the understanding that there’s probably going to be an incubation period before he enters the NFL and becomes the pass rusher he’s capable of being—this is a redshirt sophomore who played in just 20 collegiate football games and needs to mature both technically and physically before taking on a high volume of snaps. Oweh’s athletic ability will grant him sporadic reps, even as a rookie, to serve as a designated pass rusher, but I wouldn’t advocate for a high workload on early downs until he’s more filled out with his frame. Oweh is lean and can give up valuable real estate as a run defender; he’s lacking in the core and lower-body power to hold ground and stack up tackles. If you’re looking for a silver lining in his early-down role, he’ll win from wide angles and he has the functional athleticism in space to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker for any team looking to call upon his skills as more of a raw athlete. I do believe Oweh will reach his potential, but he’s young, relatively inexperienced, and needs more polish and more power rolled into his frame before he gets there.
Ideal Role: Designated pass rusher (rookie season)/Starting rush LB (three-year projection).
Scheme Fit: 3-4 outside linebacker.
What do you think of the prospects the Steelers watched Thursday? Would you want to see any of them in the black and gold? If so, let us know who you like, and in what round, in the comment section below. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.