4 Steelers poised for monster breakout seasons in 2023

Steelers, George Pickens
Steelers, George Pickens / Joe Sargent/GettyImages
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3. TE Pat Freiermuth

Depending on your definition, it's almost hard to call Pat Freiermuth a potential breakout player this year, as many would claim that the third-year tight end has already broken out. I don't necesarily disagree with this, Freiermuth has impressed us over his first two seasons, but I still think there's a chance he could take another significant leap forward in 2023.

Early in his career, the former Penn State product is already generating buzz as a borderline top-10 NFL tight end, and rightfully so. But I don't think it's out of the question to jump up even higher on the list.

Pittsburgh's passing game plan has been among the worst in the league under Matt Canada over Freiermuth's first two seasons, and that isn't guaranteed to change. However, if Kenny Pickett is able to take a big step forward, Freiermuth could be one of the big beneficiaries thanks to his solid route-running and ability to work after the catch.

The biggest issue here is just staying healthy. At one point last year, Freiermuth was on the pace for over 920 receiving yards, but a concussion and a late-season knee sprain proved to be setbacks from achieving this goal. Get this guy the dorkiest helmet possible. As long as it prevents him from future concussions, that might be all it takes for him to solidify himself in the tight end tier just behind players like Dallas Goedert and Mark Andrews -- perhaps even with them.