Steelers select tight end in recent 2021 NFL mock draft

Tommy Jaggi
Pat Freiermuth #87 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Pat Freiermuth #87 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

The Steelers made it a point to address the tight end position this offseason. Here’s why Bleacher Report has them taking another tight end early in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled to find a true number one tight end since Heath Miller retired back in 2015. Though Miller was never considered the best in the league at his position, his excellent blocking ability and consistent hands in traffic made him a reliable player throughout his 11-year career in Pittsburgh.

Since Miller’s retirement, the Steelers have attempted to fill the void with players like Ladarius Green, Jesse James, and Vance McDonald – each one falling short of number one tight end status. Eric Ebron is the newest addition in a line of tight ends who tried to prove themselves.

The former first-round draft choice by the Detriot Lions had a Pro Bowl sesaon with Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in 2018 but came back down to earth last year. Much like Ladarius Green, Ebron isn’t considered to be a ‘complete’ tight end, and his struggles blocking are known throughout the league. However, he will attempt to prove to be the answer Pittsburgh has been searching for at the position.

Recently, however, Bleacher Report comprised an early 2021 NFL Mock Draft in which they had the Steelers taking Penn State tight end, Pat Freiermuth.

Listed at 6’5” and 256 pounds, Freiermuth has ideal size measurables for the position, and he impressed in his sophomore season with 43 catches for 507 yards and 7 touchdowns. He’s a tight end that has been high on a lot of draft boards early in the process.

While the Steelers could technically get out of both Vance McDonald’s and Eric Ebron’s contracts prior to the 2021 season, it’s hard to envision a scenario in which they will let both players go. At the same time, Ebron and McDonald are due nearly $16.5 million combined in 2021, and Pittsburgh could certainly cut ties with at least one of them.

If this turns out to be the case, the Steelers could once again be on the search for their number one tight end. There are, however, many who believe that 2021 could be the year Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert finally search for their quarterback of the future. Ben Roethlisberger turned 38 years old this offseason and he coming off a major elbow injury that caused him to miss 14 games in 2019.

If the Steelers draft a quarterback next offseason, he would likely have the opportunity to sit behind Big Ben for a year before being thrust into action as the long-term starter. Some of the quarterback candidates that could be considered are North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Georgia’s Jamie Newman.

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It’s still extremely early to narrow down Pittsburgh’s first-round options to just one position, but tight end is something that could potentially be on their radar. The season will soon show us where the Steeler’s biggest needs lie.