What will Friermuth’s role be in 2021? Its early, but I’m excited by the potential. Like every team in the NFL, the Steelers offense played a high percentage of 11 Personnel (1 RB/1 TE) with Eric Ebron as the tight end in these sets. With all respect to Ebron, who creates mismatches in the passing game, to me he is more of a huge slot receiver than a traditional tight end. So, in the running game, if the Steelers had three receivers, Ebron and a running back on the field in that 11 Personnel, they really only had five true blockers making space for their ball carrier. Expect to see Ebron and Freiermuth on the field together quite often, but there also should be times when the rookie is the sole tight end on the field. Having this added weapon gives Pittsburgh a lot more tactical advantages in terms of offensive personnel usage and how the defense counters with their base, nickel or dime packages. And if the opposing defense is noticeably weaker in one of these defensive personnel packages, Pittsburgh is very well equipped to force their opponent into playing with that lesser unit on the field for much of the game.
As is the case for Najee Harris (Williamson Draft Review: Najee Harris), maybe the best thing Freiermuth brings to this organization is the ability to be extremely quarterback friendly. Harris and Freiermuth play different positions and have vastly different skill sets, but big receiving backs and athletic tight ends with good size provide their quarterback with a lot of very manageable throws to the flats and middle of the field. Both these players have large strike zones and can be deployed all over the field. Any quarterback should appreciate these qualities a great deal and can lean on them in a huge way.