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Steelers Analysis

What are the Steelers Getting in MyCole Pruitt?

What are the Pittsburgh Steelers adding in new tight end MyCole Pruitt, who has joined Arthur Smith in every stop of his career so far?

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Pittsburgh Steelers
Atlanta Falcons tight end MyCole Pruitt (85) during an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)

The Arthur Smith connections keep rolling in. When the Pittsburgh Steelers inked former Falcons and Titans tight end MyCole Pruitt, it was anything but a surprise. Those connections to Smith keep rolling in with Cordarrelle Patterson and Van Jefferson, and now, Pruitt has joined the group.

If the Steelers move Heyward to fullback permanently, which could be the plan, Pruitt could backfill as a reserve tight end. Either way, in an offense that asks many of its skill players to go out there and block, the team needed someone other than Washington who could be reliable. Pruitt can be that, and while he only had nine receptions a year ago, Pruitt has stuck around in the NFL as a top blocker.

In 2022, Pruitt caught four touchdown passes in Smith’s scheme. Regardless, he will primarily be asked to block at a high level for Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren with the Steelers. Pittsburgh still has needs up and down the offense, but a run-blocking tight end was something the team needed to add at some point. Rodney Williams remains on the roster, too, and he became a core special teamer, so a deep tight end competition will occur at training cam to see who makes the team.

However, Pruitt’s blocking makes him all the more valuable. Sure, he is one of those veterans who knows the system and helps slot in right away, which helps the system’s installation process, but even more than that, this team needed blockers. Only Darnell Washington felt like a sure thing as a blocker who could make a significant difference in the system. Pruitt’s best trait, by far, is his blocking. He gets a significant push at the point of attack, moves well in space, and executes combo blocks at a high level. Take in the fact that Pruitt stands to be, at best, the team’s TE3, and it makes a lot of sense to sign him for what is likely a veteran benefit deal.

This will allow Smith to experiment with Pat Freiermuth’s alignment. Freiermuth is not the same type of athlete as Kyle Pitts, but Smith lined Pitts up all over the formation to get him into positions to make plays. It remains pretty apparent that the vision could be to move Freiermuth around the formation and into positions that maximize his strengths. And while many have soured on Freiermuth, he is still an underrated player after the catch and has excellent hands.

So, Pruitt adds that extra flexibility out of heavy personnel, too. It’s a low-risk move but does fill a void that the team needed to at least think about, with how much this team’s success was predicated upon what they wanted to do on the ground. Pruitt will add an edge to this team’s ability to run the football.