Cowboys Projected to Land Next Rob Gronkowski in 2021 NFL Draft

Pat Freiermuth

Getty Pat Freiermuth

With the 28th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys select Pat Freiermuth, tight end, Penn State.

Using the Caesars Sportsbook’s projected win totals for the upcoming season, Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report gifted the Cowboys a pass-catcher likened to future Hall-of-Famer Rob Gronkowski.

Via Sobleski:

… Dallas may not want to overlook an opportunity to select the best all-around tight end prospect in the class. Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth is a rare collegiate tight end. He’s both a legitimate in-line option and a potential mismatch in the passing game.

The 6’5″, 259-pound target, who caught 43 passes for 507 yards last season, continues to draw Rob Gronkowski comparisons.

“I don’t know what his limit is,” Penn State tight ends coach Tyler Bowen told the Boston Herald‘s Andrew Callahan. “But the thing that makes him unique is he can be a good player in every phase of tight end play. He can be a dominant run-blocker. He can be a dominant pass protector, and he can be dominant in the pass game.”

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Scouting Report

Through two seasons with the Nittany Lions, Freiermuth has registered 69 receptions for 875 yards (12.7 yards per grab) and 15 touchdowns. He’s drawn Gronk comparisons due to physical stature — Freiermuth is one inch shorter and just five pounds lighter — and his ability to win on the outside, as well as function in-line.

Freiermuth, who finished second on the team in receiving last season and returned for his redshirt junior campaign, probably would have been the first TE off the board in the 2020 draft, according to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. Brugler, for what it’s worth, predicted Freiermuth landing in Miami with the 11th pick next April.

As is, his hype is well preserved. Pro Football Network’s Bill Riccette believes Freiermuth has the potential — keyword — to reach Gronkian heights.

“When you watch Freiermuth, you get the sense that he is going to play on Sundays and that feeling has been there since his arrival at Penn State,” Riccette wrote. “The “Baby Gronk” moniker might be a bit too extreme at this point, simply because of the level that Gronkowski played at being extremely hard to match. However, there’s no question Freiermuth has the size and ability to become one of the next top modern-day tight ends. As mentioned earlier, he just needs to get more consistent with his blocking and then he can really become an all-around tight end in the NFL.”

Baby Gronk ᴴ ᴰ || Pat Freiermuth Freshman Season Highlights || Penn State TE #87Freiermuth emerged as a top target for Trace McSorley as the season went on. Regular season stats: 24 receptions 330 yards 7 touchdowns Honorable mention all big ten selection. Freshman All-American. Like, Comment, and Subscribe for More! Comment any suggestions for songs to use or videos to make and I’ll do my best to do…2018-11-30T20:58:16Z

Wait-And-See Approach for Dallas

If the Cowboys indeed pick 28th, it would mean both the offense and defense performed at extremely high levels, enough to propel the club deep into the playoffs. Alas, it’s a difficult exercise forecasting the whos and wheres before the 2020 regular season takes place.

Dallas genuinely is high on Blake Jarwin, whom they hand-picked to succeed Jason Witten. Behind Jarwin are a few upside projects, including 2018 fourth-rounder Dalton Schultz, 2017 undrafted free agent Cole Hikutini, and 2020 UDFA Sean McKeon.

However, if Jarwin face-plants in a full-time role or the aforementioned go belly-up, it’s entirely possible the front office rebuilds the position. And who better to start with, and who better for the brand, than “Baby Gronk.”

READ NEXT: NFL Research Foreshadows Dak Prescott Leaving Cowboys in 2021

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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