Ranking the Room: Who is the top tight end for the Steelers in 2024?

We continue with our room ranking this offseason as the Steelers TEs are broken down and dissected before training camp.
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Connor Heyward (83)
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Connor Heyward (83) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With training camp almost underway, it's time to take stock of the Pittsburgh Steelers' tight end room ahead of the 2024 season and rank them.

The rankings will be a mix of criteria. While long-term potential is considered, the primary determining factor will be their ability to help Pittsburgh win in 2024. The Steelers have invested in this position, with their no-doubt starter supplemented by worthwhile backups.

Steelers five tight ends ranked

5. MyCole Pruitt

With the Steelers likely to keep four tight ends this season, this training camp battle figures to be one of the best of the year. While the backend of the roster lacks huge names, two players are fighting for that potential fourth spot, and both have a valid claim to the roster.

Pruitt is the worst option on the roster, but he still has a good shot at making the team. As a fourth tight end, he is a good blocker who has also found some success in the red zone. He also has a lot of familiarity with Arthur Smith’s offense. While he is the least exciting name in this room, don’t discount him as a potential rosterable player by the time the depth chart is set.

4. Rodney Williams

A surprise standout last year, Williams is the opposite of Pruitt. He is an athletic move tight end who is a receiver first before a blocker. He was called up as an injury replacement last year, and while the results weren't astounding, he held his own and saw extensive offensive snaps.

The Steelers already have a blocking tight end locked into the roster, so Pruitt seems like overkill. Williams is also younger and has more potential as a depth-tight end. What really makes him the favorite is his special teams ability, as he was a core player there. For a fourth tight end, Williams makes a lot of sense.

3. Darnell Washington

Fans may be surprised to see Washington down here given the fact that he figures to be the second option on the depth chart. While he has a role to play and should see an increased role as a contributor, his primary role is still as a blocker. The receiving numbers will come elsewhere.

That shouldn’t discount the potential role that Washington can play for this offense this season though. While he won’t light up the stat sheet every week, he should have more opportunities in this new offense. He can also use his mass to be effective in the red zone. There should be a jump here, but the room could see more production from others in the room.

2. Connor Heyward

Heyward's role should grow this year. Despite his lack of conventional size, Heyward has proven to be a quality receiving tight end. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him produce the second most receiving yards from the tight end room.

He is also set to receive some fullback work, a role that has been extensively used in Smith’s offense, so that is just more opportunity. He can see snaps there, in the backfield as a runner, and still be used as a traditional tight end.

Throw in his production on special teams (a role that could potentially expand with kick returns) and his impact should be felt even more this year.

1. Pat Freirmuth

The top tight end on the Steelers, and it isn’t particularly close. Freirmuth can do a bit of everything. He is a great receiver with solid hands and the ability to make tough catches. He can also use his size to block in space. He is a complete tight end and should be in store for a rebound season and a new contract.

Given the lack of receiving options on the offense, there is a real chance for Freirmuth to see his role significantly increase this season. Expect him to be the de facto second target on offense and potentially to post a career season as a receiver. All of this considered, he easily checks out as the best tight end for the Steelers this season.

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