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NFL.com: Pat Freiermuth is Steelers ‘Most Underappreciated’ Player

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NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund has identified the “most underappreciated” player on each team, and believes Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth is not getting the recognition he deserves.

Frelund’s model combined win share and salary by position to determine each franchise’s unheralded contributor, and flagged Freiermuth as Pittsburgh’s unsung hero offensively.

While Freiermuth has had quite the impact as a pass catcher early in his career, Frelund noted that he was just as good as a blocker in 2021.

“My computer vision loves a versatile tight end, and that is exactly what Freiermuth was in 2021,” Frelund writes. “Computer vision shows that his blocking win-share metric ranked fourth best among tight ends in the NFL last season.”

Still, Freiermuth’s true value comes from his skills as sure-handed receiver through contact and in the red zone, which he did better than nearly ever other tight end last season.<

“Per NGS, his +19.3 catch rate over expectation on tight-window throws was the highest among TEs,” Frelund wrote. “The 2021 second-rounder’s utility in the red zone was also tied for top three in the NFL, as he hauled in all seven of his touchdowns in this area.”

Freiermuth will ultimately prove pivotal in a Steelers offense, that is not only ushering in a new quarterback, but also looking for progress along its offensive line.

“Freiermuth helps make up for deficits along the Steelers’ O-line and creates an outlet in the passing game, both of which combine to make him an incredibly important factor for Pittsburgh’s new signal caller, whether veteran Mitchell Trubisky or rookie Kenny Pickett takes the QB1 job,” Frelund wrote.

Selected in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft out of Penn State, Freiermuth caught 60 passes for 497 yards and seven touchdowns during his rookie campaign.

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