Steelers TE Pat Freiermuth listed as under-the-radar player who could shine in 2024

Pat Freiermuth was injured and underutilized in 2023; here's why the Steelers TE is being pegged as an under-the-radar player in 2024.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers have dozens of young, promising players on their roster. In his first two seasons as general manager, Omar Khan loaded up on talent in the NFL Draft and the future looks bright. However, it's a former Kevin Colbert draft pick who is being recognized as a potential breakout candidate.

Recently, CBS Sports' Jordan Dajani wrote an article about the top under-the-radar players from each AFC team who could shine in 2024. When it came to the Steelers, his selection was tight end Pat Freiermuth.

Freiermuth, a former second-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, had a brilliant start to his NFL career -- recording at least 60 receptions in each of his first two seasons while chipping in a total of 1,229 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns during this span.

Then things took a turn for the worse in 2023.

After dealing with concussions early in his career, Freiermuth suffered a significant hamstring injury on October 1 against the Texans that forced him to be placed on IR. When he returned to the field in Week 11, he was barely used.

Freiermuth played in a total of 12 games last year but only had one game in which he recorded more than 3 catches and 50 yards. On the season, he managed just 32 receptions for 308 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Steelers could utilize Pat Freiermuth in 2024

Entering his fourth NFL season -- the final year of his rookie contract -- it's not hard to see how Pat Freiermuth could be utilized early and often by the Pittsburgh Steelers on offense. Dajani noted Freiermuth's positive comments toward Arthur Smith and that the offense is 'very exciting' for tight ends.

This has been the case in the past with Smith and could be once more as he looks to get Pittsburgh's TE1 involved in the offense. Freiermuth isn't a special athlete and his speed is only average at the position. However, he has shown the ability to routinely shake off would-be tackles after the catch for additional yards. The former Penn State product also possesses soft, natural hands to reel the ball in over the middle of the field.

Because Pittsburgh's offense is expected to be predicated around the rushing attack, there may not be enough targets to go around for Freiermuth to be a 1,000-yard tight end. But don't be surprised if his production surpasses what he did in each of his first two seasons.

Pat Freiermuth could make a lot of money with a big 2024 season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers tight end is out to prove why his name belongs in the discussion of the best players in the game at his position.