6-1/239 Ohio State
Pros: Has speed to make plays sideline to sideline and works well in pursuit. Is comfortable working in space and is solid in zone coverage. Has good quickness to match up in man coverage. Has nice instincts and usually takes good angles to the ball. Is a capable tackler that makes most stops in the open field. Shows some potential coming off the edge as a blitzer.
Cons: Struggles at the point of attack and is undersized. Has trouble shedding blockers and clearing traffic. Will over pursue at times and doesn't always show great closing burst when working in the pass rush. Doesn't have great hips. Not really a thumper as a tackler.
Overview: Freeman has upside, particularly in coverage. But he needs to get better at the point of attack. Overshadowed a bit by Laurinaitis, who he shared the field with for three years as a starter. Injured knee in 2005 and missed most of the year after developing a staph infection.
NFL Forecast: He's a smart player, that I don't think would be overwhelmed if he was asked to be a starter right away. He's solid in zone coverage, and needs a bit more work in man coverage. But he has potential there. He basically reminds me of a player like Mike Caldwell, who was a great player in coverage, but not so much vs. the run. Freeman has upside to develop vs. the run, and at times outshines his teammate James Laurinaitis with his speed and range. But he needs some polish and I think it would be best if he sat for a year or two, working in nickel packages, but adding strength and developing. I don't think he'll be a top impact player, but could be an above average to good starter that can give you 100 tackles consistently each year.
ATL Forecast: Freeman would be a nice developmental linebacker behind Peterson for a year or two. He can contribute to the Falcons right away in passing situations, but more than likely, he'll just sit and playing special teams until he's ready. He doesn't have the upside to really play on the strongside and is strictly a weakside guy. But he should develop into a solid starter in Atlanta, just probably won't be the impact playmaker the team is looking for. He's probably not going to be a playmaker like Michael Boley was in 2007.
Value: Freeman has upside, but because he's fairly one-dimensional at this point should be taken in the third round.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.