Tampa Bay Buccaneers Draft picks
Round 1...#19... Traded with Browns to Pick #17
Josh Freeman QB Kansas State
6’ 5” 248 lbs.
Strengths: Size, Height, Arm Strength, Toughness
Weaknesses: Speed, Mechanics, Footwork, Release, Accuracy, Experience, Poise, Production
Josh Freeman makes three. What do I mean? The top three rated QB’s in this draft are all underclassmen: Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez and Freeman makes three. Being as how quarterback is the sexiest position on the field and the one everyone looks at the most, quarterback is one of the drafts most overrated positions and this year it is especially glaring. Stafford is good, but is he great? Sanchez has a playmakers streak, but can he be a consistent player? Freeman has raw tools, but will his mechanics and accuracy ever catch up to his arm strength?
If you have Stafford at #1 to Detroit, Sanchez in the top 10 and Freeman in the first round, you’ve talked yourself into a bad situation.
Josh Freeman is not a first round pick and should have stayed in school. He needs to finally put a serious effort into improving his footwork, release, touch, accuracy, reads, concentration and anticipation. That’s too many questions for a first round pick.
What has people artificially inflating Freeman’s value is his size (6’6” 250lbs) and his arm strength (think JaMarcus Russell). Sure Freeman set school records for passing yards with 8,078 yards and TD with 44 but he never did play as well as some of his other draft eligible Big-12 counterparts like Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell (15,793 yards, 132 TD), or Missouri’s Chase Daniel (12,515 yards and 100 touchdowns), not to mention those returning to school in Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Texas’ Colt McCoy, Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson and Kansas’ Todd Reesing. Most damaging: his 14-18 record at KSU. Freeman never put it all together and had a chance at locking in a much higher 1st round pick in 2010 if he had gone back. On the surface it appears as if Freeman was in a seemingly no-win situation with his coach, Ron Prince, fired and a change in systems at KSU, but that would have granted him at least some latitude to prove that he could fix his game and win over some sceptics.
Freeman has thrown some tough interceptions (see Oklahoma and Kansas in 2008; Auburn and Kansas in 2007; or Kansas again in 2006) and he has not shown significant improvement over his career. His release is slow and he frequently fails to step into throws or set his feet, instead just flicking the ball towards an area. His failure to set his feet and poor footwork has led his accuracy to be wildly inconsistent as well as keeping him from gaining any semblance of timing with his receivers, leaving Freeman a step ahead or a step slow. His touch and loft could be a lot better as well, he just sort of throws it and lacks the knowledge of how to ‘pass’ the ball to a teammate. He holds onto the ball too long at times looking to make a play and doesn’t feel pressure coming. Freeman has been known to pat the ball in the pocket and can be very loose with the football, leading to fumbles that should have only been sacks.
The upside to Freeman besides his size is his ability to tuck and run. He has decent speed and rushed for 14 TD in 2008 and was a close second on the team in yards with 404. He’s a load to bring down and he’s not afraid to duck a shoulder and push through a tackle. Freeman has that rare ability to get a throw off even with defenders hanging on him, and he gets zip on the ball doing it too. Potentially the strongest arm in the draft, even better than Stafford, can make every throw and attack all levels of the field. He has fantastic potential to develop into a starting QB and teams will be enamoured with his arm strength and size.
In such a weak class, Freeman will go higher than he would most other years. Teams should view Freeman with the utmost caution because it’s unlikely he will improve his flaws at the next level. While he’s grown as a leader on the field, I don’t feel that he has the intangibles of guys like Stafford and Sanchez. His poor career record is a black mark but you do have to weigh the fact that he led a fairly prolific offense with no run game and a shoddy offensive line. A second round pick is in the cards for Freeman but anything above that is asking for trouble.
Round 3...#81... Roy Miller DT Texas
Round 4...#117 (from cowboys) (from Cowboys) Kyle Moore DE USC
Round 4...#120... Traded to Cowboys
Round 5...#155... Xavier Fulton OT Illinois
Round 6...#191... Traded to Browns
Round 7...#217 (from Jaguars)... E J Biggers DB Western Michigan
Round 7...#229 (from Bears)... Traded to Cowboys
Round 7...#233 (from Ravens)... Sammie Stroughter WR Oregon State