2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Pat Freiermuthby Alex Barbour January 27, 2021 9 comments
Is Pat Freiermuth the next Rob Gronkowski? Maybe. With flashes of insane strength, power, and blocking, he has the tools to develop into a franchise tight end. However, these flashes overshadow the dull tape behind it, leaving teams and scouts wondering: who is Freiermuth, the next Gronk, or the next bust?
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Name: Pat Freiermuth
Position: Tight End
School: Penn State
Weight: 250 lbs
Freiermuth has standard hands. They pop off on the highlight tape, but there are several instances where balls do not sit well on his first grab, leading to an adjustment that may lead to more drops in the NFL, where defenders are much quicker to the ball. There were several drops, but they were due mainly to hits, which will be discussed next.
Contested Catch (6.0/10)
Freiermuth shows flashes of greatness. His one-handed grabs are spectacular; however, there are many instances, priorly mentioned, where Freiermuth cannot hold on through contact. The Nebraska game this year showed signs of improvement, but there is still much to improve in regards to this category.
Overall speed and burst (5.5/10)
Freiermuth again has moments where his speed looks lightning quick for a tight end, but the majority of snaps (especially in the 2020 season) looked mediocre at best. This score only remains above a four due to some reps that showed true speed as well as one-cut skills like an H-back. To reiterate: his highlight tape shows seven speed and burst, but his overall play usually shows a four. Linebackers can keep up with him, leading to a lack of separation, which will be discussed more later.
Route Running (4.5/10)
Most routes are surprisingly subpar for Freiermuth. This year he had plenty of designed curl and flat routes that had little effect on coverages. Turning off the highlights to actual game content shows a major drop-off when it comes to actual route-running skills. This is far from something he cannot develop, as (mentioned a billion times before) Freiermuth has shown flashes through his highlight tape. Could this be a George Kittle story again? Probably not, but hey, why not enjoy the thought?
After the Catch (7.5/10)
Freiermuth shines most here. Watch his truck in the Memphis game last year, you will not be disappointed. He also flashes a one-cut ability that makes him appear Kittle-like. Freiermuth’s major issue lies in his balance: he trips a lot. He tripped even on the truck mentioned previously. Freiermuth’s viscous trucks and cuts warrant an 8.5, but his balance issue is generously factored into the final product.
Some reps, Freiermuth releases like a high-end receiver. On most reps, he gets locked in with the linebacker or safety covering him. Some reps show Freiermuth getting stuffed on his routes, which is scary given how he has the size advantage. This will only get worse as linebackers get larger and more athletic.
Again, some reps, Freiermuth appears like a wide receiver and can make solid separation. On others, he creates very minimal separation to the point that his subpar quarterbacks have to thread the needle to get the ball to him.
Run Blocking (9.5/10)
Watch out! If the trucking highlights were not there, his blocking should have whole videos dedicated to it. Apart from Pete Werner (weirdly), Freiermuth has handled defensive ends, safeties, and linebackers with ease. He blocks very similarly to an offensive lineman, which is amazing to see: Freiermuth even goes to the next level and completely opens up lanes on his own. This blocking ability seems oddly reminiscent of Nick Boyle’s.
Positional Versatility (4/10)
Freiermuth was seen in the slot a heavy amount this year. He produced statistically, but when actually looking at the tape, he was lackluster at best. He fits as a true tight end and should be treated as such. His lack of separation, release, and route running ability easily knock him a full round below Kyle Pitts.
Competitive Toughness (3.25/5)
As mentioned before Freiermuth engages his blocks with ferocity. He even goes to the next level and engages with the linebackers and safeties, which is amazing to see for an athletic tight end. He does tend to give up on some plays, however. The gap in athleticism between highlight plays and standard second and 10 plays potentially show how he reserves his effort for when he needs to get the ball.
Freiermuth recently had a season-ending shoulder injury, but there is little more to report about injuries past that.
Friermuth is a fun prospect to watch: he has the power, the size, and the strength to pull off some highlight-worthy plays. While Gronk has been thrown into the mix for him, but reality shies away from that. Leave that comparison for the true freshman Michael Mayer of Notre Dame. With all of the tools needed to build the next Gronk, Freiermuth poses an insane ceiling. The only issue will be whether an organization expects him to be what he can be on day one: if they do, he will be a huge waste of a pick and a huge waste of his talent. If an organization will develop him, he may be the beast the flashes tease he can be.
Final Grade (59.5/100): Mid Second Round
Player Comp: Vance McDonald