2014 Draft Pick Profile: Devonta Freeman

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The dynamite shadow behind Famous Jameis may be the best RB from the 2014 draft.

This pick is probably my favorite because I'm an offense-oriented guy. Let's break this guy down something fierce!

He's the first RB from FSU to break 1,000 yards since former Falcon Warrick Dunn, and that happened 17 years ago, I believe. 17 years without a 1,000 yard rusher? That's saying something. Warrick Dunn turned out alright!

Highlights

But don't let my excitement convince you. Check out his highlights:

There's so much to love about this video. First, check out the ludicrous speed Freeman puts on the edge at around :38.  It's like he gets faster just to get to the edge. It's part camera angle, but that lateral speed is serious.

1:10 should look awfully familiar.

One thing I love about Freeman is that he holds the ball high and tight nearly every time. Look at the juke he puts on at 1:35. Watch where he keeps the ball the entire time. It requires some serious body control to move like that and keep the ball secure. In the long run, he's sacrificing some speed by holding the ball like that, but to me it shows superior discipline. Ball security > speed

His vision is superb. 2:05 is Warrick Dunn-esque. 1:27 should make all Falcons fans happy, since he doesn't plow into the pile with his head down.

You can tell by watching that video that he lacks the final gear that would make him an elite prospect. In the Falcons' offense, he won't need it. The Falcons use a guy without that top gear already in Quizz.

Tomahawk Nation

Bud Elliott over at Tomahawk Nation wrote a brief scouting report on Freeman. Here's some blurbs from it:

He was a coaching staff favorite, and never publicly got in trouble.

Freeman is short, thick, a very willing pass blocker, and a runner who has very good instincts. He is OK as a pass catcher, has some wiggle in the open field, and lacks top-end speed. Freeman is not a feature back, but in the NFL that rotates multiple runners, he profiles as a solid pro.

A couple of readers added these statements:

"ok" As a pass catcher?

I thought that was a strong point in his game. I hope he gets some decent pt in atl. Will be following him.

and....

strong(est) point is his pass blocking IMO

Go back to what I said the other day about the importance of things other than running. Here's the blurb:

I keep bringing up blocking but it’s so, so, so, so important with regards to being an NFL running back. Some backs aren’t so good at it but are such good runners, they make up for it (McCoy) and others aren’t quite as superior of runners, but earn their keep by blocking exceptionally well (Gore, MJD).

That’s all we need in an RB is just reliable blocking and receiving and Quizz provides both of those. We don’t need a superstar running RB (even though Freeman has that potential) but we do need someone who is smart and knows how to do both the stat-gathering part of the game and the nitty gritty part of it too. I think Freeman gives us a third individual that provides both the athletic ability to contribute offensively as well as the football smarts to provide in the pass blocking game as well.

I don't profess to be a football genius, but we at The Falcoholic know our stuff! I'd vouch for any of the other writers and their football smarts, too. (And we're not jerks about it. Except Alex)

Based on the above evidence, it's clear that the people who have watched Freeman for four years know what he's capable of, and based on what I know about football, Freeman is exactly the kind of RB that we need. He already has the most important skill down in pass blocking and he's a reliable receiver out of the backfield. If our OL is as good as we think it's going to be, suddenly we have a trio of backs who can do all three things needed of a professional RB: Catch, run, and block.

Check out his bio on FSU's website. It offers pretty high praise for Freeman. Never missed a game in school, All-ACC First Team. The thing that stands out most to me is that one of his biggest collegiate games came in the biggest collegiate game. That says something to me.

He's Flat-out Awesome

Don't take my word for it. Check out this conversation over on the mothership. If you don't have a moment, here's the transcript of a part that really caught my attention.

On his feelings about coming to Atlanta:

Freeman: I'm at a loss for words...it's just a dream come true, like I couldn't believe this really happened. And I always wanted to go to Atlanta. I know it's (from) God. I know it's (from) God. When I woke up this morning, I (said), 'I just want to go to Atlanta.' because I was just getting frustrated that I didn't go a lot earlier, and I was just like 'Lord, just let me please go to my home team, that'll make me so happy, and then, man, I just got that chance. I'm at a loss for words right now."

Anyone who wants to be in Atlanta is an awesome person in my book. Just from that part of the conversation (all of which is worth listening to), you can tell that not only does he want to be here, but he's got that chip on his shoulder already.

Considering how many running backs went before Freeman in the draft, it's a wonder how he managed to end up in Atlanta. I'm certainly excited to see him play this year. How do you feel about the pick? Knowing all these things, is there still another RB you would have preferred for that pick?

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