3. Devonta Freeman | Florida St. | 5’8″, 206lbs
Devonta Freeman, the junior running back from the defending champion Florida State Seminoles, enters the 2014 NFL Draft after a successful 2013 season in which he ran for 1,016 yards and 14 TDs (5.9 ypc)…Was named First Team All-ACC after starting all 14 games last season…For his career, Freeman totaled 404 carries for 2,255 yards and 30 TDs, while adding 47 catches for 475 yards and a score through the air…Physically, Freeman is a short guy, but he’s built with the necessary girth needed to be a runner who receives a lot of touches; He has thick legs and a stocky upper body that absorbs contact well…Athletically, Freeman displays very good feet and overall coordination; He moves at top speed from the second he gets the ball and maintains the ability to make sharp cuts with loose hips and plus COD skills…Exhibits the ability to shake the defender in the open field with very good wiggle and active body movements…Is strong enough to break arm tackles and runs with a hard and physical style through contact…While not a speedster, Freeman is a guy who can rip off a long run because of his understanding of open-field running; He consistently takes advantage of good angles and cutback opportunities…Displays plus instincts, when running both inside and outside, to get to the play’s aiming point or when having to abandon the play’s design and make something happen on his own…Strong enough to run between the tackles and gain the tough yards, and quick enough to get to the corner and challenge the defense outside…Displays good receiving skills; Has soft hands and an aggressive up-field style after the catch that will likely be utilized more in the pros than in college…A better than expected blocker who shows a ‘want’ to deliver a blow both in pass protection and when asked to lead the way in the running game.
Was a part-time performer at FSU and never had to be “the guy”…Ran bigger than his size would indicate; Will have to prove (early) that he can be similarly effective versus pro defenders.
On the next level, Devonta Freeman projects as a starting-quality running back who is similar to a guy like Ahmad Bradshaw in that he is a strong and instinctual back who runs with 100% maximum effort on every carry. He’s entering the NFL with a lot of carries left in his legs and will provide a team with a multi-dimensional threat for their offense. He has the talent to start right away as a rookie, and while he’s likely to begin his career as part of a rotation, I sense it won’t take long before he assumes the role as the lead back (much like he did at Florida State.)
GRADE: 7.8 (High-2nd Round)
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