If it wasn’t already obvious, the Pittsburgh Steelers need to try to start doing something new on offense. There is already some talent in place well before we head into free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft. Obviously, Najee Harris will be the bell cow of this offense for the foreseeable future, but fellow sophomore Pat Freiermuth needs a bigger role in the black and gold’s offense. The tight end had a lot of success in year one despite some less than optimal play calling, and being put in some not so great situations.
If we learned anything from Pat Freiermuth’s rookie season, it’s that he is an extremely athletic and capable tight end, possibly the best receiving tight end the Steelers have ever known, I consider Heath Miller an all-around Tight End not just a receiving threat. His size coupled with his ability to catch the football and aggressiveness running with said ball in his hands makes him a very lethal weapon for the Steelers’ passing attack. To get the most out of him, the Steelers should really look at teams who feature their tight ends with high prevalence in their offense.
I don’t think it would be fair to Freiermuth to think he could be on the level of George Kittle, Travis Kelce, or Darren Waller in year two, but he can certainly push into that next tier of solid tight ends. If everything goes perfectly I don’t see why he couldn’t be a Tier 1 player well before his time in the NFL is complete. However, in order to get there the Steelers must actually put the ball in his hands with some level of consistency. A lot of tight end success across the league comes from those intermediate routes across the middle of the field. Despite Ben Roethlisberger‘s unwillingness to throw this route with any frequency this past year, when Freiermuth got the call he typically made a play.
The Steelers offense will certainly look a lot different in 2022. No longer will the Steelers feature Ben Roethlisberger under center, former starting tight end Eric Ebron is likely out of Pittsburgh as a free agent, and it’s still very possible JuJu Smith-Schuster signs elsewhere in free agency. Opportunities for a guy like Pat Freiermuth should, in theory, start popping up all across the Steelers offensive game plan. And regardless of who they bring in this off-season, I expect Freiermuth to have a very big sophomore season.
But what do you think? Will Pat Freiermuth experience a bump in production in his second season? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.