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Metrics Suggest Pat Freiermuth Could Have Elite 2023 Season



Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth

Pat Freiermuth has already earned a reputation in the NFL as a reliable, ascending tight end heading into his third year in the NFL with the Steelers. However, could he take the leap from just being good just potentially being among the upper echelon of tight ends?

To say the least, there are some metrics that work very well in his favor. For one, there is the explosive reception metric for tight ends. According to Dwain McFarland, Freiermuth ranked second in the NFL by delivering an explosive reception on 25 percent of his targets, only behind George Kittle of the 49ers. That at the very least is one of the more stable stats for tight ends.

More importantly, when you dive into the other stats that matter, he’s top-10 in nearly every single one. Freiermuth ranked 7th in yards per route run and 9th in YAC over expected. That’s part of why he has the ability to take the next leap. Pat Freiermuth is already an efficient player while creating more out of nothing after the catch, too.

If you extrapolate all of the key stats to a per-game basis, Freiermuth did it all to make Top-10 rankings, and not only that, but he did it with fewer snaps than most other players. Freiermuth ranked only 22nd in pure snaps a season ago. However, there is one key stat that could make Freiermuth a guy that really takes a huge leap.

It comes in his usage from the slot. He is an entire yard more productive out in the slot than he is inline. His yards per route run in the slot was 2.28 yards per route run, second-best in the NFL behind only Travis Kelce. Meanwhile, his inline yards per route run was 1.46, which barely cracks the top 10. However, Freiermuth was only used in the slot 38 percent of the time, one of the lower amounts among the guys with similar profiles as him.

With Darnell Washington now aboard, that usage should go way up. Washington can play inline while Freiermuth slots out and can provide mismatches for the Steelers’ offense. The Steelers’ offense and Freiermuth’s usage limited him a bit in 2022. However, with Washington now aboard and a usage rate that should find itself going up, he could really carve himself out as an elite tight end if things hit.