Steelers grab TE Freiermuth in 2nd round of NFL draft

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers are intent on giving Ben Roethlisberger as many weapons as possible before he calls it a career.

The Steelers selected Pat Freiermuth from Penn State in the second round of the draft on Friday night, ignoring major concerns along the offensive line to address depth at tight end after Vance McDonald retired in January.

The pick is the second at an offensive skill position in as many selections for the Steelers. Pittsburgh selected running back Najee Harris in the first round on Thursday.

Freiermuth caught 23 passes for 310 yards and a touchdown during his final season at Penn State in 2020. He appeared in just four games for the Nittany Lions before going down with a shoulder injury.

Freiermuth joins a tight end group light on experience outside of veteran Eric Ebron.

Pittsburgh’s choice was a bit of a surprise considering the needs along the line after center Maurkice Pouncey retired and guard Matt Feiler and left tackle Alejandro Villanueva hit the free-agent market.

The move follows the path the Steelers went down a year ago, when they selected wide receiver Chase Claypool in the second round and centered most of their offseason moves on trying to give Roethlisberger plenty of options.

The 39-year-old quarterback has opted to return for an 18th season in 2021. Whether it’s a swan song remains to be seen, but the 6-foot-5 Freiermuth’s arrival does give Roethlisberger another big red zone target.

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