In the long and storied history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have never really had a game changing right end. Heath Miller is by far the organizations greatest at the position, but even at his peak Miller never scratched the upper echelon of tight ends that were currently in the league. Aside from Miller the Steelers have had a handful of guys that produced a couple decent seasons here and there but nothing that ever lit the NFL world on fire. The Steelers have only had five Pro Bowl seasons from a tight end in their history (Miller-2, Green-2, and Carpenter-1) and have no First Team All-Pro or Pro Football Hall of Famers. But, here in 2021 they may have finally found a player with the talent to end the Steelers long drought at the tight end position.
Pat Freiermuth, the second round pick out of Penn State, is receiving a ton of praise from the Steelers coaches and media alike. He’s catching everything thrown his way, and has been hauling in a number of highlight reel type receptions. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has begun a new catch phrase every time Freiermuth catches a pass, likely to keep the rookie level headed. That line is simply ‘you can catch, but can you block?’ Well, Freiermuth got the opportunity to show off his blocking skills.
In a blocking drill on Wednesday, Freiermuth was able to shut down Alex Highsmith, who himself had a great day of rushing the passer. We are still a very long way from determining whether Freiermuth can be a great blocker, but the fact he was one of the better blocking tight ends on this day stands out. To get the opportunity to be a big-time contributor in the Steelers offense at tight end you have to be able to block, even if it’s to that players detriment. Look at Eric Ebron who the Steelers forced to put his hand in the dirt and block, which has never been a part of his game and he unsurprisingly struggled.
Pat Freiermuth stops Alex Highsmith cold. Mike Tomlin asked if he could block, hell of a response by Freiermuth— Nick Farabaugh (@Nick_Farabaugh) July 28, 2021
For Freiermuth to become an impact player as a rookie he will need to continue to impress in the blocking game. If he can do that, the Steelers will inevitably get him on the field more and, in turn, give him the ability to catch more passes. The Pittsburgh Steelers may have a special talent on their hands for the first time in a very long time. If they can use Freiermuth to his strengths, the organization may have a weapon the offense has been lacking for a very long time. A big rookie year from the tight end may even put the Steelers back on track toward a playoff spot.
But what do you think? Can Pat Freiermuth be a big-time contributor in Pittsburgh as a rookie? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below.