Josh Freeman To Go Early

All signs point to former Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman to be not only a first-day draftee, but also a first-rounder in this weekend's National Football League draft.

It appears more and more that Josh Freeman made the right decision in opting out of his senior season at Kansas State to enter this weekend's National Football League Draft.

All indications are that the 6-foot-6, 248-pound Freeman will be a high-teens draft selection in the first round of the 73rd Annual NFL Draft that will be conducted at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.

Draft guru Mel Kiper has Freeman going to Tampa Bay as the 19th selection of the draft, and as the third quarterback behind Georgia's Matthew Stafford as the No. 1 pick and Mark Sanchez of USC as a top 15 selection.

ESPN's Kiper says, "Freeman is an interesting prospect because he throws a great ball and has imposing size. However, his inconsistent play puts him in the boom-or-bust category."

ESPN colleague Todd McShay adds of the former Wildcat quarterback, "Freeman's decision-making and mechanics are admittedly erratic, but he is blessed with an absolute Howitzer for a right arm. Add in his massive frame and deceptive mobility, and with a drastic drop-off after the top three prospects, it's hard to imagine

Freeman would stay on the board beyond the top 25 picks."

Other draft sites have Freeman filling the quarterbacking need of the New York Jets at the No. 17 drafting position.

If it is the Buccaneers, newly named coach Raheem Morris knows a bit about Freeman's talent as he wad KSU's defensive coordinator in 2006. Talking to The SportsXchange, Morris said, "When I was there when he was a freshman, we had Jordy Nelson and Yamon Figurs - two pretty good players playing in this league. He was starting to come into his own when I left.

"All I know is he put up big-time numbers, but not a big-time win production and that's a major factor for a quarterback," Morris continued. "Whenever you're drafting a quarterback, you want to make sure he's a winner."

While the Buccaneers, 9-7 last year, are in the need of a QB, Morris openly says that all free agent candidates are nearly as unproven as someone coming out of the draft.

"You're talking about a guy who's going to be unproven, you've got to teach some stuff and let him grow and develop," Morris said of all draft candidates. "It's all the same deal. You're just looking for the most competitive guy, the one that's going to come in and create the most competition whether he's the Day 1 starter, or whether he's a Week 6, or Week 16 starter."

Scouts, Inc., scouts Freeman this way: Excellent: Durability, arm strength Above Average: Production, accuracy, mobility Average: Game management, ball release Scouts, Inc., pointed out that Freeman struggled "in bigger games versus faster defenses," and made bad reads on occasion.

The internet service added, however, "He had to consistently try to overcome a marginal supporting cast and was forced to take some chances in order to make plays at times." Scouts, Inc., defined Freeman's release as a "three-quarter delivery," but added it wasn't too much of a concern because of his height. "His velocity makes up for it most of the time, but he definitely gives DB's a slight tip."

Overall, College Football News columnist Hunter Ansley dubs Freeman as a "physical freak." Kansas State defensive end Ian Campbell appears to be on the bubble of being drafted in one of the last two rounds on Sunday, or being a high-profile free agent.

Ranked as the No. 18 defensive end in the nation, Scouts Inc. ranks Campbell as "excellent" in durability and character, "above average" in production and instincts, "average" in strength and being a run stopper, and "below average" in size/speed, agility and pass rushing skills.

The only Big 12 players ranking higher than Freeman in the draft are Baylor tackle Jason Smith, Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree, Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin, and O-State tight end Brandon Pettigrew.

The NFL Draft will be televised by ESPN starting at 2 p.m. on Saturday with the first two rounds, and Sunday at 9 a.m. for the final five rounds.

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