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NFL Draft: Player Profile - Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State
John Tuvey
March 4, 2009
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Josh Freeman, Kansas StateMeasurables:
Combine height: 6-5 3/4
Combine weight: 248 pounds
Combine 40 time: 4.97 seconds
Freeman threw for 2,945 yards and 20 touchdowns against eight interceptions in his third and final year at Kansas State. He also carried 107 times for 538 yards and 14 touchdowns. For his career Freeman completed 59.1 percent of his passes, amassing 8,078 yards and 44 touchdowns against 34 interceptions. He also rushed for 825 yards and 20 touchdowns in his Wildcat career.

Skill Set:
Physically, Freeman has just about everything the NFL looks for in its prototypical quarterback. Not only does he have the size to stand tall in the pocket and shrug off tacklers while looking downfield, he has the arm strength to deliver the ball anywhere on the field and the athleticism to take off and run if the pocket breaks down. However, for someone with all the requisite physical gifts, Freeman’s productivity never quite lived up to the mouthwatering potential.

Part of that may have been Freeman’s supporting cast (or lack thereof) at Kansas State, but he too must shoulder some of the blame. Scouts question his pocket presence and decision-making, and he has definite issues with ball security; to wit, in three games against in-state rival Kansas Freeman turned the ball over 13 times. There are also concerns about Freeman’s mechanics and footwork, as too often he was content to rely on his arm strength and his fundamentals are somewhat lacking. The good news is that Freeman is a hard worker who won’t shy away from the challenge of stepping up to the next level; however, scouts have expressed concerns about his leadership skills and ability to digest a playbook. Bottom line, he’s a raw physical specimen who could be molded into a top-level NFL quarterback—or, conversely, might frustrate pro coaches with athletic ability that just can’t be converted into a pro signal-caller.

Possible Destinations:
Freeman’s Combine workout was merely adequate, reinforcing the notion that he’s a work in progress. Whether a team sees enough potential to spend a first-round pick on him remains to be seen; if so, such a move would likely come in the middle of the round with the Jets at 17 or Bears at 18 pulling the trigger. The Lions could tab Freeman as their developmental quarterback with their second first-round selection at 20, or the Vikings could cut bait on Tarvaris Jackson and opt for Freeman as the heir to Sage Rosenfels with their pick at 22. The rest of the round consists of teams without quarterback question marks, so there’s a strong possibility a team in need—such as the aforementioned Jets, Bears, and Lions as well as the Panthers, Jaguars, 49ers, and Buccaneers—trades back into the first frame. Those teams are also candidates to pull the trigger on Freeman in Round 2. It’s worth noting that Bucs coach Raheem Morris was the defensive coordinator at Kansas State during Freeman’s freshman season there.

Fantasy Impact:
Freeman wasn’t even among the top five most productive passers in his own conference; to ask him to make the jump from Kansas State to the NFL in one year seems a daunting task indeed. There are simply too many aspects of Freeman’s game that require refinement for him to be expected to not only step into a starting lineup but also to be productive. In other words, Freeman is a project who will most likely follow the route of first-round picks like Daunte Culpepper and Carson Palmer and spend a year holding a clipboard and honing their skills.

So while immediate fantasy value seems all but off the table for Freeman, there is a plethora of upside—depending, of course, on where he lands. The obvious comparison for Freeman is to Culpepper, a similarly-sized quarterback who’s just off the fringe of the general football public’s radar. Freeman’s camp has made comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger, which also has some merit. All three are big enough to shrug off tackles in the pocket and make occasional plays with their feet. However, both Daunte and Big Ben came to the NFL with more polished throwing games, and since that will be the area in which Freeman is most severely tested he’ll need help: proper coaching, quality receivers, and a scheme that plays to his strength. It may take time for all those elements to come together, so as with the NFL Freeman is a fantasy project in need of refinement.

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