NFL Draft Scouting Report: Pat Freiermuth
Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth declared for the 2021 NFL Draft after the Nittany Lions finish the 2020 season with a 4-5 record.
Freiermuth suffered a shoulder injury during Penn State’s loss to Ohio State in the second week of the Big Ten season. He played through two more games before deciding to sit out the rest of the year. The decision was made due to the healing process after surgery.
Before the injury, the junior tight end grabbed 23 receptions for 310 yards and one touchdown on the year. The lone touchdown came against the Indiana Hoosiers at the start of the season.
Prior to the 2020 season, Freiermuth was coming off a 500-yard year with seven touchdowns and 43 receptions. The skillset the draft prospect shows why he is regarded as a top tight end prospect in this year’s draft.
Freiermuth has soft hands, which makes catching footballs easy, but he has strength to corral the ball high and tight into his body. Speaking of strength, you should ask Memphis defensive back Carlito Gonzalez how Freiermuth’s hit stick works.
With the nickname “Baby Gronk”, having the ability to break tackles and truck over defenders is a huge asset to what the name brings. Freiermuth’s bull-dozing tendencies has made him a proficient reciever to get past the first down marker through traffic.
He manages to get off the line and get to a second gear in the second level of the defense, whether in the slot, wing, or on the line of scrimmage. When pressed up by a defender, however, he finds himself slowed down and fails to place the defender on his hip to get open enough to make a play.
Freiermuth does not have immense speed, which causes easy coverage on the lateral routes. His agility may cause questions in NFL executive offices since the more intense defenders cling onto him when breaking out to the route.
As a blocker on the line, his 6-foot-5, 258-pound stature provides an extra offensive lineman who can get out into the open field. He manages to hold on to blitzing linebackers or defensive backs to keep the pocket open for the quarterback to make a throw to the outside receivers.
However, his blocking abilities are not his strongest suit. His footwork seems off at times, fails to get the initial pop when stopping the blitzes, and goes in at bad angles when the pass rush engages.
On Penn State’s Pro Day, Freiermuth did not partake in many drills, such as the 40-yard dash, the bench press, and the vertical jump. His workout consisted of passing drills to showcase his route tree, with balls thrown by quarterback Roland Rivers III out of Slippery Rock University.
The 2020 Big Ten Tight End of the Year showed his route breaks to the 31 NFL scouts in attendance. Most of the scouts were impressed with what they saw and may consider drafting him in the second round.
Overall, Freiermuth shows flashes of being one of the top tight end prospects in this draft class along with Florida’s
Kyle Pitts and Notre Dame’s Tommy Tremble. His stature, blocking, and ability to get out into the open field provides him as a threat in multiple formations and offensive schemes.
As teams look at the remaining players left on the board, the junior tight end may get the life-changing phone call from one of the 32 teams on the second day of the draft. Freiermuth would join an elite club of past Nittany Lions to walk out onto a football field on Sundays.
Jonathan Draeger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Third Year / Broadcast Journalism