NFL Draft: Why NY Giants could pair Saquon Barkley with Pat Freiermuth

Pat Freiermuth #87 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
Pat Freiermuth #87 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images) /

Pat Freiermuth and Saquon Barkley were never teammates at Penn State, but both left indelible marks on the program, and each delivered a New Year’s Six bowl victory to Happy Valley, and just might become teammates after the NFL Draft later this month.

The NY Giants have been among the biggest spenders in free agency this offseason, including adding Kyle Rudolph to pair with Evan Engram, aiming to bolster the supporting cast around Daniel Jones as the quarterback enters his third season.

Engram made his first Pro Bowl last season, despite dropping eight passes, and is set to play on his fifth-year option in 2021, merely a tacit commitment from the organization.

If Freiermuth falls out of the first-round of the NFL Draft later this month, might the NY Giants pick him to drop into an offense with Barkley, wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard as a long-term replacement for either Rudolph or Engram?

Pro Football Focus seems to think it’s a good idea:

"The Giants already have two starting-caliber tight ends on the roster in Evan Engram and the newly signed Kyle Rudolph on his two-year deal. Neither player is likely to factor into the Giants’ long-term plans at the position.Rudolph will turn 32 years old next season, and Engram will be playing on the fifth-year option on his rookie contract in 2021. Injuries and inconsistent play have led to disappointing results for the former Ole Miss Rebel throughout that contract.Freiermuth is a clear tier below Pitts in this tight end class, but he’s also a tier above any other tight end available as the 43rd-ranked player on PFF’s Big Board. The next-closest tight end prospect is Miami’s Brevin Jordan at 97th overall. Freiermuth has the size and ball skills to contribute early in a passing attack over the middle of the field, and he was a strong run-blocker for much of his collegiate career at Penn State.His addition in the second round would allow the Giants to run plenty of varied personnel groupings with three capable tight ends in 2021 while giving them a young, cheaper option at the position moving forward."

Freiermuth, 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds, has drawn comparisons to Rob Gronkowski during his two-plus seasons in Happy Valley.

Catching 92 passes for 1,185 yards with 16 touchdowns, while averaging 12.9 yards per reception, Freirmuth solidified his status as the No. 2 ranked tight end in this year’s NFL Draft class, behind Florida’s Kyle Pitts.

One of the primary reasons the NY Giants signed Rudolph is is productivity in the red-zone. Friermuth is a similarly dominant weapon inside the 20-yard line, not dropping a red-zone pass in three seasons, catching eight passes for 96 yards and five scores inside the red zone.

If the NY Giants have no designs on extending Evan Engram long-term, Freiermuth’s upside in the vertical passing game could allow the organization not only to add him as a weapon for Jones but also allocate resources elsewhere to bolster the roster.

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