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The Josh Freeman Debate

April 15, 2009
Boom or Bust?

Boom or Bust?

How is it that all of these mock drafts have the New York Jets selecting QB Josh Freeman out of Kansas State with the 17th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft? Do NFL Team Scouts and experts such as Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have that much of a conflicting opinion on this guy? Everyone seems to think Freeman will go at least Top 20, however, Kiper for example has him rated as the 50th best player in the draft? How is that even possible?
 
Some people who have watched Josh Freeman play at the collegiate level say that he reminds them of a young Daunte Culpepper when he was in his prime in Minnesota. They see his size (just a shade under 6″6 and 248 lbs) and his cannon for an arm and they see a prospect just oozing with potential. They see a player who would be rated even higher than USC QB Mark Sanchez if he had the talent around him at Kansas State that Sanchez had at USC. 
 
On the flip side, people see a raw player who may not even be ready to contribute until 3 or 4 years down the road. These people see him as only being regarded as a high prospect because of his size and arm strength but hasn’t actually produced anything on the field worthy of the hype. They see him as someone who was above average on the college level, however, most college commentators just gushed about what his ability could be on the pro level. A poor man’s JaMarcus Russell, per se.
 
The funniest conflict of opinion came when Mel Kiper Jr. was a guest on ESPN’s Mike & Mike In The Morning radio show where the following conversation happened:
 
Kiper asked hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, “Where do you think Josh Freeman is rated on my board, in terms of one to 100?”

Greenberg guessed No. 12. Golic guessed No. 15.

“50,” Kiper said

“50?!” the Mikes yelled in unison.

“That’s not a criticism of Josh Freeman,” Kiper said. “It’s just saying, this is why he is what he is in terms of the projection.”

“He played like a top pick in some games; he played like a fifth-round pick in other games. He’s up there, being projected as a first-round pick, because after Josh Freeman, there’s no other quarterback coming off the board until the fourth or fifth round.”

Mel Kiper Jr. suggests that any team in the first round who wants to select Freeman should just trade down to the bottom of the 1st round or early 2nd round so you can draft him later and pick up additional draft picks along the way. He believes the only reason Freeman may go so high is because the next best QB is probably valued as a 4th rounder. I don’t remember a potential Top 20 pick entering the NFL Draft with such a variance in opinion; especially a Quarterback.

Investing a top 20 pick in a QB who seems to have such huge boom or bust potential is too much of a risk for me. Being a die hard Jets fan, I hope the Jets do not select him. I would much rather a project WR like Darrius Heyward-Bey out of Maryland. Heyward-Bey is 6″1 and runs a 4.3 40 yard dash. We’ll see what happens, but as most fans know with the Jets on Draft Day…ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

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