With the 2022 NFL Draft less than a month away, Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth recently had a chance to reflect on last year’s draft, when Pittsburgh selected him in the second round (No. 55 overall) out of Penn State. In an interview with Adam Breneman for the Breneman Shows Up podcast, Freiermuth says he expected to get selected No. 45 overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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The Jaguars Called Freiermuth to Say They’d Be Drafting Him
“I really thought I was going to Jacksonville with coach (Tyler) Bowen,” said Freiermuth, referring to the then-tight ends coach of the Jaguars. “They called me and they were like, ‘Hey, we’re going to draft you at this spot.’” Except the anticipated draft call never came, as the Jags chose offensive tackle Walker Little out of Stanford.
“And then I thought I was going to end up at Tennessee at (No.) 53 and then they didn’t call,” added Freiermuth, without noting that the Titans passed on him to take offensive tackle Dillon Radunz of North Dakota State.
But things worked out swimmingly for Freiermuth, because shortly after the Titans made their selection his phone buzzed with a call from Pittsburgh and Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was on the line.
“I love being part of the (Steelers) organization,” Freiermuth told Breneman. Never mind that he almost instantly felt at home in Pittsburgh, being just two-and-a-half hours down the road from Penn State.
“I think Coach Tomlin is one of the best coaches I’ve even been a part of, (with) the way he runs the organization and the way he challenges guys,” said Freiermuth.
He also offered praise for ex-Steelers tight end Eric Ebron, noting that the former starter “took me under his wing” and helped Freiermuth adapt to the pro game, which he says starting “clicking” for him after the first matchup against Cleveland (Week 8), in which he had four catches for 44 yards and the game-winning touchdown reception (pictured above).
As for how things might have gone had Freiermuth been drafted by Urban Meyer’s Jaguars: “I’m happy I didn’t go there,” he said flatly.
‘Awesome’ to be Compared to Steelers Legend Heath Miller
After an impressive rookie season in which he caught 60 passes and had seven touchdown receptions, Freiermuth looks poised to be Pittsburgh’s starting tight end for the next decade. Of course, his first year wasn’t all sweetness and light. The lowest low came in Week 10, when he fumbled at Detroit’s 38-yard line with eight seconds to play in overtime, allowing the winless Lions to preserve a 16-16 tie.
“In my mind, that (fumble) cost us the game,” said Freiermuth. “For a couple of weeks after that, it was whenever I got the ball, I was very tentative,” he admits, being especially careful not to fumble.
Now he looks forward to a future in which which he has many opportunities to hear fans scream “Muuuuthhhh,” much like crowds used to scream “Heathhhhhh!” every time former Steelers tight end Heath Miller got his hands on the ball.
Freiermuth told Breneman it’s “awesome” to be compared to Miller, the former 2005 first-round pick who played for the Steelers for 11 seasons and authored 592 catches with 45 touchdowns, winning Pro Bowl honors two different times, as per Pro Football Reference.
“I always want the ball in my hands just to hear” fans scream “Muuuuthhhh!” he said, especially in the stadiums of opposing teams.
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