The Pittsburgh Steelers now turn their focus to the 2021 regular season and offseason workouts, but the work for the 2021 NFL Draft class is just beginning. With rookie minicamp just around the corner, it is worth the time checking to see what coaches said about the selections.
For the Steelers’ second round pick they took Pat Freiermuth out of Penn State. Following the pick newly hired tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts spoke to the media about the newest acquisition to his position group, and what he feels Freiermuth can bring to the Steelers.
“He is exciting to me. I am excited to work with him.” Roberts said. “Had a chance to work with him at his Pro Day. The energy he exudes, he is a serious but fun guy. He has some position flexibility. He will be kind of a throwback tight end because he can play the position and do some multiple things. You can flex him out. His positional flexibility is going to give us a chance to do a lot of different things and a lot of different sets with the guys that are already here.”
When the pick was made, many fans were wondering what kind of player Freiermuth will be for the Steelers? Is he an Eric Ebron type who isn’t known for blocking? Is he a Matt Spaeth player who is primarily a blocker? Or is he a Heath Miller type who can do it all?
“As he grows, he will be more efficient [at blocking].” Roberts added. “Some of the things we are going to ask him to do, we are going to work at. I think he has some natural knee bending, some pad level that he does easily now. You just kind of situate those things that he does well and things that he needs to come on, we will find a way to get those things better.”
Roberts, who spent the 2020 season with the Los Angeles Chargers, was asked to compare Freiermuth to a player he has worked with in the past, and the comp he used should excite the Steelers global fan base.
“Similar to Hunter [Henry], the young man who is now at the Patriots. I think he is a little bit different because he is built a little bit different. He will be a little bit different than anybody I’ve worked with in the sense of his build. It will be a fun—not even a project, because he is a lot more accomplished than a project.”
The addition of Freiermuth gives the Steelers two very capable tight ends when he is paired with Eric Ebron. Will the addition of Freiermuth give the Steelers more to work with compared to when Ebron was paired with Vance McDonald? Roberts sees the addition tantalizing.
“It’s just so many things we can actually do.” Roberts said. “Having some experience in Indianapolis with Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, I think it kind of fits like that for me with having guys being able to take advantage of defenses because we can run the football with those guys and you can spread them out in space and throw the football with those guys, and then you add Ben Roethlisberger with his accuracy and the things he’s done in this league. It’s going to be a fun for coach Canada to put some things together.”
Overall, Freiermuth is a very versatile player, and someone fans should be exciting about watching play in 2021 and beyond. Even if you think the team might have reached to obtain his services, Roberts outlines everything Freiermuth does, and can bring to the Steelers’ offense.
“He can do some of the heavy lifting when we talk about getting in line and doing some things. He can also work from the backfield because he can bend well and move well in space. We can flex him out if need be. In big packages, he can do a number of different things. I just like what he adds right now and what he is going to grow into in the future.”
In total honesty, I was very confused with the selection of Freiermuth, in my studies I never viewed him as a must-get prospect, but Roberts paints a different picture of the former Nittany Lion. Will he be able to transform the Steelers’ offense? Maybe, but there will certainly be some growing pains.
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 upcoming 2021 regular season.