Pat Freiermuth has definite early round potential

If the college football season goes ahead as planned in 2020, we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about receivers and tight ends. That’s where there appears to be an early round strength in the 2021 draft class. For the second year in a row the pass-catches are going to dominate the headlines.

We’ve already talked about Florida’s Kyle Pitts and Purdue’s Rondale Moore. Today we’ll look at Penn State’s Pat Freiermuth.

Comparisons are never 100% but Freiermuth has some Gronk tendencies and a legit chance to be a high pick in 2021. Purely in terms of the way he runs routes, uses his size and can beat you in the short and long range — it’s very Gronk-esque.

He has a fantastic ability to create separation on routes working from the slot. He’ll shake off covering cornerbacks or linebackers with a shimmy at the top of the stem and wrong-foot defenders to create wide open throwing lanes. That’s not easy to do at 260lbs and he’s going to be a nightmare matchup at the next level.

When you can put your big tight end in the slot and have him win in the same way a smaller receiver can — that’s a dangerous proposition.

Freiermuth finds the soft spot in zone superbly. He’s very difficult to cover running the seam. He works to get open very well. He’s really difficult to cover on a simple Y-stick route where he heads straight to the sideline. You create the free release in design and once he’s in position he can just wall off any defender, he can contort his body to make any catch, he tracks it superbly and extends his hands and you just can’t get around him.

He also knows how to help his quarterback. There’s a game against Minnesota where he ran a Y-stick to the sideline but lost early position (they run it so much defenders will read it). He just broke off the linebacker to find the space in behind and present his QB with an open target for a big gain.

He creates easy separation when split out wide running a slant. His short-area quickness is so impressive it’ll be a surprise if he doesn’t run a blazing three-cone to secure a high grade. If you don’t disrupt his route early and give him a free release he will beat you time and time again. He and Pitts are very similar in that regard.

If you watch a lot of the tape it’s noticeable how often he’s open. Sometimes that’s good scheming but he’s also really savvy. He doesn’t stop moving, he settles down well. He’s a natural tight end weapon.

Freiermuth finishes his runs. He absolutely hammered a Memphis defender in the Cotton Bowl. Just ran over him going for the end zone, Beast Mode style…

He also finished a run against Michigan State with defenders draped all over him to fight his way into the end zone. He’s clearly tough and physical and enjoys mixing it up.

He has good hands. As a redshirt freshman he had a great one-handed touchdown against Ohio State. He gains position and he’s so big it’s really hard to get around him to play the ball. He plucks the ball out of the air and can high-point. He presents his hands to the football. So often Penn State have him settle down at the sticks, box-out and present a safe target.

Penn State used him as a H-back or slot receiver a lot so there’s not a ton of evidence of him in-line blocking. There’s little concern here though. Just looking at his frame and his attitude. He’s so dynamic as a pass-catcher you can work on any of the blocking duties he needs to master. On WR-screens he reaches out and connects with his target in space which is difficult to do. Against Minnesota last season he delivered the key block from the H-back position to spring a 45-yard running touchdown. There aren’t going to be any concerns about his blocking. If you can do this in space, you’re going to be just fine…

He ran a 4.44 short shuttle at SPARQ which is about where he needs to be. The key will be a three-cone that is quicker than a 7.10. For some reason, despite the clear data, not enough people focus on the agility testing at tight end. It’s a major indicator of NFL potential and early round draft potential.

Freiermuth has a classic TE frame and while he isn’t quite the same athlete as Kyle Pitts he does have the agility and the subtle tricks and technique to create separation and he’s more equipped to block as a sixth man at the line. He can make the easy conversions you need on third down, the big plays at the second level, he can bust seams and he’ll be a major red zone threat.

Both players have definite first round potential.

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  1. Lewis

    Wish we could have had him this year.

  2. Coleslaw

    My sundays are boring sometimes so I did a thing.

    1. @ ATL- W
    2. Vs. NE- W
    3. Vs. DAL- L
    4. @ MIA- W
    5. Vs. MIN- W
    6. *BYE*
    7. @ ARI- L
    8. Vs. SF- W
    9. @ BUF- W
    10. @ LAR- L
    11. Vs. ARI- W
    12. @ PHI- W
    13. Vs. NYG- W
    14. Vs. NYJ- W
    15. @ WAS- W
    16. Vs. LAR- W
    17. @ SF- L


    NFC Playoff Seeds:

    1. Seahawks 12-4 *BYE*
    2. Saints 11-5
    3. Cowboys 11-5
    4. Vikings 10-6
    5. 49ers 11-5
    6. Cardinals 11-5
    7. Buccaneers 10-6

    On the Cusp:
    Packers 10-6
    Eagles 10-6
    Panthers 9-7

    Wildcard Weekend:

    Saints vs Bucs: Saints W
    Cowboys vs Cardinals: Cowboys W
    Vikings vs 49ers: 49ers W

    Divisional Round:

    Seahawks vs 49ers: Seahawks W
    Saints vs Cowboys: Saints W

    NFC Championship:

    Seahawks vs Saints: Seahawks W


    Seahawks vs Chiefs: Seahawks W 41-38

    • Lewis

      The way last year went, they are more likely to win those division games on the road and lose at home 🤪

      • Big Mike

        Yeah no offense Coleslaw but we win in AZ and lose to them at home. I’m on board with where you’re at though. 🙂

  3. Sea Mode

    Adam Gase… 😂🤣

    • Rob4q


    • Volume12

      The Bruce Arians impression is amazing.

      Looking forward to his Pete Carroll.

      • BoiseSeahawk

        It would involve a grey wig and glasses
        the term “fired up”
        and intense gum chewing and toe tapping in his air monarchs

  4. RWIII

    Rob: I was hoping you would do an opinion piece on the Seahawk schedule.

    • Rob Staton

      What opinions would I have though?

      I’m not into click baity ‘predictions’ in early May. I think it’s well spread out for Seattle. No daunting stretches really.

      But ultimately it’s an ordered list of all the teams we already knew they were playing. There’s not much to say.

      • KennyBadger

        And you’d be discussing a schedule that is far from concrete right now.

      • RWIII

        No problem.

  5. Happy Hawk

    I sound like a broken record but Thank you so much for your continued content, articles, and insight into the Hawks. I really appreciate it BIG TIME! Penn State looks loaded. Some players I would love your insight on:

    OT P Sewell (Oregon) – is he really that good? Is he someone the Hawks would trade up for?
    Edge Rushers: Hamicar Reshed Jr. (OSU) and Quincy Roche (Miami)
    DT Jay Tufele (USC)
    Samual Cosmi OT (Texas) and Thayer Munford OT ( Ohio St)
    RB’s: T Etienne ( Clem) and K Hill ( Miss St)

    Some other than Sewell maybe in our draft slot range next year. Thanks again Rob!

    • Rob Staton

      Thank you!

  6. HoosierHawk

    So you have now done an article on my receiver crush in the next draft and my tight end crush in the next draft. Going for the trifecta with my favorite defensive lineman next?

    Keep churning out the great work fine sir and I’ll keep reading.

    • Rob Staton

      Thanks man! If people keep reading and commenting I’ll keep writing.

  7. Rob Staton

    I can’t believe this.

    • dcd2

      Yikes. That’s as much as he’s made the last two seasons combined (more if he hits any incentives).

      Was hoping it would be about half that. Sooooo, about that cap space 🙁

      • Rob Staton

        I don’t understand the Irvin salary or the Ogbuehi salary.

        • Bmseattle

          Makes zero sense.
          Irresponsible to give Irvin that kind of money, and so early in the process, too.

        • dcd2

          Surprising for sure. About $8M between them. Ogbuehi isn’t even a starter, but he’s making top 25 RT money.

          Strange off-season. Talk of prioritizing JDC, yet here we are. Talk of continuity on the OL, and probably 80% turnover. 18 OL, 3 DT roster construction. Cap allocation…

          Often seems that John puts his value on a guy and that’s as high or low as he’ll go. What the rest of the league is valuing a draft pick or FA at is just an afterthought. Knowing the Bruce contract, we’re now at what, $15M? We need about $4M for PS and IR, right? We still need a backup QB, a DT, another RB… Are we offering Clowney like $8M on a one-year deal?

          • Rob Staton

            Very little makes sense.

            Some questions need to be asked — and answered.

            • KennyBadger

              This is absurd. I feel like you could get griffen for that.

              • Tecmo Bowl

                So youre sure Everson is better than Irvin for 2020?

                • KennyBadger

                  Are you sure he’s not? Seems like E.G. would at least be more of a full time player than situational.

                  • Rob Staton

                    2019 stats:

                    Everson Griffen — 35 pressures, 13 hurries, 13 QB knockdowns, 8 sacks

                    Bruce Irvin — 23 pressures, 9 hurries, 5 QB knockdowns, 8.5 sacks

                    Number of times used on a blitz:

                    Griffen — 0

                    Irvin — 41

                  • Tecmo Bowl

                    Griffen also played 240 more snaps. 848 vs 608 or 39% more snaps.

                    I do not understand the hating on giving Irvin $5.5-5.8m money. Is it slightly above what we thought he was worth? Sure. Slightly.

                    • Rob Staton

                      People expected $4m. Personally, I was surprised it was even as high as that.

                      Him getting nearly half as much again is not ‘a little bit more’.

                      He’s earning a third more than his last contract — at 33!

    • BobbyK


      • Greg Haugsven

        That puts a serious damper on signing Clowney now. Would be tough to even sign Griffen at this point.

    • Tecmo Bowl

      $2+m less than Ansah. Not sure what the gripe is about.

      • KennyBadger

        I don’t think it’s wise to justify one mistake with another…

      • Rob Staton

        The ‘gripe’ is that it’s about 1/3 bigger than the last contract he signed, as he reaches age 33, for a player who has never been a full-time defensive end.

        • Tecmo Bowl

          Less than $6m for Irvin seems about right. Just because he’s not a supreme bargain doesnt mean its a bad deal.

          • Rob Staton

            And just because he’s earning just under $6m doesn’t make it a good deal either.

            Nobody, if asked, would’ve said his value was at $5.5m going into the off-season. This is a player who was cut by the Raiders during the 2018 season, signed by the Falcons, was then forced to take a cheap one-year deal in Carolina a year ago (the Seahawks, by the way, chose not to bring him back a year ago at a much more modest price).

            And now — as he prepares to turn 33 — they’re giving him nearly $6m for a season.

            It’s staggering.

            They have frittered away the cap space and nobody can say with any conviction that they are an improved team. They are relying on Benson Mayowa and Bruce Irvin to fix the pass rush, minus Clowney and Jefferson from a year ago. They’ve also not replaced Al Woods yet.

            I don’t understand the plan here other than just loads and loads of depth at certain positions (OL) and hardly any depth at others (DT, CB).

            • Tecmo Bowl

              So what would have been a good deal with Irvin?

              • Rob Staton

                Something similar to Benson Mayowa’s deal.

                • Kingdome1976

                  I think it’s a matter of knowing what Bruce can bring to the Seahawk table and familiarity. Also he is kind of a physical freak, and those players tend to be more productive later than most….genetics I guess.

                  It seems like they think sacks by several different players at relatively cheap/low year deals is the way to go this year. I know many of us are still holding out hope for Clowney but I just don’t see it anymore. If PC/JS truly valued him the way many of us seem to the deal should have been done by now. My prophecy is we don’t sign Clowney or Griffin. I hope I’m a false prophet.

                  • Rob Staton

                    They’re still waiting out Clowney

    • Volume12

      ‘A reminder’

      You mean we shouldn’t forget that teams should save a little cap for when the actual bullets start flying? BIG, if true Brady.

    • mishima

      Worst case scenario: About $19.5 million to Olson, Irvin, Mayowa, Ogbuehi.

    • Pran

      John keeps overpaying for one year FAs based on name or draft status. We have seen a plenty in the last few seasons. Something is not right with front office, be it draft failures, over paying for lesser names, unable to offload timely, blowing early round picks in trades for mediocre results.

    • Spencer Duncan

      Between Ogbuehi, Irvin and Mayowa, they could have easily paid Griffen.

      Adding Clowney and Griffen to the young blood looks so much better to me.

  8. mac

    I am so glad we signed Ogbuehi, Iupatti and warmark for what is probably less than what it’d take than Larry Warford. This team makes me really want to become a Chiefs fan lol
    My cholesterol would probably drop.
    Sarcasm aside, I find this whole off season strange. I remember in 2016 when we brought in J’marcus webb, bradley sowell and some journeymen in. The Offensive line really sucked that year. I fear this year, we’ll have a comparable offensive line and won’t be able to pressure Kyler or Jimmy G.
    Goff will probably still be bad though, silver lining.

  9. HOUSE

    I gotta ask… Larry Warford was just cut by the Saints in a Salary cap move…The guy has made 3 straight Pro Bowls and hasnt missed a game in 101 starts.

    • Rob Staton

      Definite no. They just can’t.

      • mishima


        • Denver Hawker

          I agree with the frustration on the price tag for the FA signings, but also good to keep in mind the flexibility JS values in signing players to 1-year deals. They’ve done a better job than most teams in not signing dead weight contracts.

      • HOUSE

        I read some posts above. I am perplexed with some of the signings as well. Over $7M between Irvin and Ogbuehi blows my damn mind and seems extremely wasteful. Irvin will be a rotational guy and Ogbuehi a 6th OL/Big TE. I’m not upset with Mayowa getting $3M, but still…

        • mishima

          Miss on Collier and Barton.

          Pay up to $10 million for vet/retread LEO and SAM.

          Draft LEO and LB.

          The circle of life.

          • Zeke

            Can’t believe they spent $10m in cap room on Mayowa and Irvin to go with some of those signings on offense 🤮

            If Irvin plays SAM, I guess KJ is done with the Hawks? Irvin/Barton/Shaq

    • DC

      I’d be shocked if we don’t sign Larry Warford following our 2020 offseason trend. Accumulate guards at all cost!

  10. Greg Haugsven

    I dont think I would pay any lineman from the Patriots, Packets or Saints. They make Pro Bowls because the are on teams that have quick passing attacks.

  11. millhouse-serbia

    Wow 6mil for Irvin..
    We have 13.5mil when we sign rookies…8.5 mil when we account IR + PS…

    6mil if we count Naz Jones, Ed Dickson and T2 wont sign with another team…

    So if Clowney cap space is 14mil(report by Pauline and really think.he wont play for less than that) for 2020 we would need to create additional 8mil…and thats without adding DT, QB, RB…they cant create that money without cutting KJ or restructuring some contracts…in Holister, Hunt,Moore and Jackson they have 7mil…but they wont cut all of them…

    • DC

      Brooks replaces KJ at WILL & Irvin plays SAM. Parkinson bumps Hollister off the roster. Blair gets a chance to/has to step up at SS & McDougald gets cut.
      Those 3 open up $13.8M

      • millhouse-serbia

        Yes, Jones can replace old Brown and thats 7.5mil more.

        In real life McDougal going nowhere. Doubt for KJ to. Holister maybe (30%) but.they wouldnt tender him with 3.2mil if they dont like him a lot. So in reality its more like 0mil not 13.5mil.

    • millhouse-serbia

      And in this calculation I free up 1.2mil assuming Britt will sign somewhere. But he got injured on 27th october and its possible he wont be ready for start of the season(Penny gotnhurt 40 days later and he 99% wont be ready for start of the season), which mean he wont sign any contract before october, which means its 1.2 mil less in seahawks SC. So it could be 4.8mil not 6mil.

  12. DC

    Brown will be here till the wheels fall off. I doubt McDougald gets moved too. But KJ & Hollister are firmly in the crosshairs coming out of the draft as far as clearing cap space goes.

    • millhouse-serbia

      Look if we are in february/march or at least early april i would say maybe on KJ (i spoke about it here 2-3 months ago)…but you are not cutting person like KJ in may, june or july…he gave everything to seahawks, he was great example.of perfect seahawk on and of the field for 8 years, and he is still good player…he is one.of.their guys…thw dont do that to their guys..

      • Jeff108

        Cause Sheen and Earl deserved what they got? Bullshit

        • Jeff108

          Meant Sherm

  13. DC

    Hate to say it but if I’m Jadeveon Clowney & I’m resigned to take a one year deal at this point, looking for my best title shot would lead me to the Colts. That roster + JC is looking championship caliber. With the way Ballard has been killing it would it be a surprise if he pulls a Clowney out of his hat?
    🤡 🎩

    • Rob Staton

      Colts haven’t shown any interest though… and Philip Rivers, lovable as he is, I can’t see him contending for a SB.

  14. Gaux Hawks

    that stings… and (momentarily) shakes a little historical divinity off of our GM.

  15. Bankhawk

    Somebody please tell me they still have the $$$ to re-sign Clowney. I don’t care-lie to me if you have to. I’m right on the verge of feeling downcast here. Whatever the plan was for an ‘improved pass-rush’, I’m not feelin’ it here today.
    Anybody perceive a sliver lining to this situation?

    • mac

      well if we cut Hollister we save $3.25 mil, $4 mil for Mcdougald and we always have the option of pushing Russ $ around. However, it does seem more likely that we highly paid for veteran players and our team is built of mostly middle class players than Superstars.

    • EranUngar

      Ofcourse they can clear enough $$$ to sign Clowney if they choose to.

      To put the Irvin money is perspective – He replaces Kendricks 4M at SAM plus soon to be released Jackson at 2M.

      • Rob Staton

        He’s not replacing Kendricks at SAM though. They just drafted a LB in round one!

        • EranUngar

          I love everything Brooks can add to the team but SAM seems to be the worst place for him of all LBs spots. I think they value Irvin more than being just a pass rusher. I think he suits their early downs/short yardage SAM role.

          • Rob Staton

            It’s not that Brooks will play SAM — it’s KJ.

            • mishima

              If their best LB unit is Brooks (WILL), Wagner (MIKE), Wright (SAM), paying Irvin $5-6M makes even less sense. Committing $15M to Wright/Irvin to play SAM boggles the mind.

              Further, if Carroll sits Brooks or Taylor to get Wright/Wagner/Irvin/Mayowa on the field, I will question his sanity.

              Let go, Pete. Just let go.

    • millhouse-serbia

      They can create it, no doubt…but everything above new 3-5mil are serious cap adjustments…amd they need at least 10 for Clowney + DT…

  16. EranUngar

    In the last 3 years, old Bruce averaged close to 8 sacks (7.75) a year while playing two thirds of the snaps.

    More the 20% of those where strip sacks.

    For a team whose sack leader manged barely half of that (4) – it’s a welcome addition.

    Is it worth 5.5-6.0M, I don’t know. I’d love it to be less.

    During 2016-2018, Irvin earned over 30M. He was than forced to sign a 1 year prove it deal with the CAR at 3.8M. At 32 y.o. he finished that year with 8.5 sacks (more than EG or Clark, same as Mack). If it was a prove it year, I’d say he proved it…

    If he manages to remain at or near his last 3 years average and earn less than a million per sack – it’s considered a steal in NFL.

    I know the reactions to this comment will be harsh but I’m use to it…:)

    • Rob Staton

      The signing is fine as a compliment. That’s how Bruce has operated. As a wheel.

      But at the moment it’s not a compliment. He’s their ‘biggest’ investment to the pass rush.

      They’re spending nearly $10m on Irvin and Mayowa to fix the pass rush. Having, so far, not retained or replaced Clowney (or Al Woods or Jefferson either).

      That’s not good enough.

      • EranUngar

        On that we fully agree. They are good complimentary pieces.

        The extra mil or two on Irvin’s contract are not stopping them from signing a Clowney if/when they can come to terms on it.

        • Rob Staton

          Well, actually, yes it is.

          And the overall point is that nobody anticipated them giving Irvin nearly $6m. I personally thought about $3m. Some suggested $4m in the media. It’s $6m. Why? Why is that high? A third more than he was on a year ago?? Nearly twice as much as Mayowa? At 33? Is anyone seriously saying that the market for Bruce Irvin was $6m? Or that the market for Cedric Ogbuehi was three times more than it was a year ago? Or that what this team badly needed was 18 offensive linemen and to not even sign one defensive tackle to replace Al Woods? Or to sign all of these players at the expense of not retaining or replacing Clowney properly?

          Now they’ve got a LOAD of things still to do… with the draft and free agency over. With not much cap space to do it.

          This off-season has not pushed them closer to a Super Bowl.

          • Trevor

            Sounds silly to even say it but it is almost like JS gave Clowney a deadline to make a decision or he was going to spend the $ elsewhere. Then when Clowney said no thanks he just went and spent the $ on the only two options left outside of Clowney and Griffen.

            I don’t mind the signings but the dollar amount makes no sense particularly Bruce whom they could have nabbed on the waiver wire a couple of times over the past couple of years if they valued him so highly.

            I find this whole off season baffling. As the roster stands now they are a Russel Wilson pre-season injury away from a top 5 pick.

            • Rob Staton

              I don’t see it like that. There was no deadline. I think the Seahawks knew they were going to have the best offer on the table and probably presumed after a few days of discovering his market, he’d come back to Seattle and everything would be fine. That’s what happened with Michael Bennett when he tested FA in 2014 after all.

              Instead Clowney has opted to wait and wait. And the Seahawks have had to react to this, probably without a real plan in place. After all — you can’t predict or prepare for this scenario. And because they want Clowney back — they’re compromised because he’s still available. They will want to leave some money available just in case.

              The addition of Mayowa was a covering their arse tactic. A cheap move, one they can convince themselves about with his 2019 sack total while not eliminating the ability to sign Clowney.

              I have a big piece coming later today that will go into this in more detail.

              • millhouse-serbia

                But after Irvin contract has been revealed, we know they have just 5mil in real, functional cap space. I really think we cant say they leave any money for anything except few cheap signings (DT, RB, QB)…

                Did they leave enough to sign Clowney? Not even close…they need at least 10more…

                can they create 10 more to sign him ? Yes they can, with significant cap.l adjustments…

                • Rob Staton

                  Any team can make anything happen.

                  That’s just a fact.

                  The Seahawks can sign Clowney if they want to. It’s not an issue at all.

                  Whether they do or not remains to be seen.

                  • GerryG

                    This all just screams terrible cap allocation. Seems like you have to cut KJ and BMacD just fill the remainder holes on the roster. I guess Hollister would be a quick savings too (speaking of overpaying)

  17. Hawks31

    Rob, Larry Warfod was just cut. Should we cut Iupati and go after him? 3x pro bowler the last 3 years and 28yrs old ….

    • Rob Staton

      No. Even if you cut Iupati you won’t be able to do anything on the DL. That has to be the focus. Not another left guard.

  18. Big Mike

    I know this is a football blog and forgive me if it’s considered the wrong place but I just have to say:

    RIP Little Richard. You were a true titan of early rock & roll and an absolute original.

    • Jeff108


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