A surprising announcement was made two days ago when Kansas State signal caller Josh Freeman declared for the 2009 NFL Draft. The NFL Advisory Committee told him he would likely be a high second-round pick. The KSU program is going to go through a coaching change, but was this the best decision for Freeman?
It remains to be seen. I have a hard time seeing a 6-6, 250-pound quarterback with a big arm fall in the NFL Draft.
I however, would not take Freeman in the first round. He is not a very polished quarterback who should take a few years to develop. He is still very raw and does not show much maturity for a pocket passer. Then again, I did say Joe Flacco would take one or two years to develop. So much for that prediction.
I guess what I am getting at is I think Freeman could end up missing out on millions. A high second-round pick earns about a million dollars a season. Freeman could also end up rising on some teams' draft board like Flacco, who made bank at five years, $30 million with Baltimore.
It would not shock me to see some team trade up for or draft Freeman in the first round. Tampa Bay is desperate for a franchise quarterback. Maybe Detroit plans to go with Freeman with their second first round pick, allowing them to take an Andre Smith or Michael Oher at No. 1.
I would be somewhat shocked if the NFL teams saw Freeman as a project quarterback and looked past him in the first two rounds.
If I were Freeman, I might return to school for my senior season. I have the talent you cannot take away from me. I am not Brian Brohm or Colt Brennan with below-average arm strength. I have the potential to go in the top five and make some serious money.
This is certainly a gamble, but Freeman would grow more as a decision-maker and leader. However, he also risks injury and potentially having a disappointing season.
Either way, it is not a bad decision.
What grade do I have on Freeman? I would not draft him in the first two rounds. He never showed me much consistency, and I was not impressed with one of the three games I saw of Kansas State's this year. Looking at box scores, he only dominated against lesser competition, and only stepped up against Texas A&M. I saw too many errors in decision-making and reading defenses to give him a second-round grade. He has a tendency to stare down receivers, and like many underclassmen he does not throw the ball away when his receivers aren't open. He does a good job of not forcing throws, but the accuracy is far from where I want it to be.
High upside? Absolutely, but I would go back to school to work on accuracy and leadership, and take a chance on that top-five money in 2010.