Freeman Feels Good About Draft Preparations

Marcus Freeman's approach to Ohio State's pro day last week did not need to mirror that of some of his more famous teammates, nor was he in the same boat as others in the group of 20 former Buckeyes whose only chance to impress scouts in one large group worked out March 13 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

Marcus Freeman and the rest of his former Ohio State teammates approached Ohio State's pro day last week with different goals in mind. While some were looking to atone for sub-par performances and others were hoping to make the most of singular chances to show off in front of a large set of eyes from the NFL, Freeman merely wanted to put an exclamation point on what was already a successful evaluation period that began in January.

While stars such as James Laurinaitis and Malcolm Jenkins worked to improve upon their showings at the NFL Scouting Combine and players like Todd Boeckman and Jamario O'Neal tried to take advantage of their best shot to earn some notice, Freeman merely hoped for validation of prior successes.

He turned plenty of heads at the combine in Indianapolis, so his main goal in Columbus was to prove his first performances were not a fluke.

His transition from college to the pros began with a week of practice in Mobile, Ala., at the Senior Bowl, where he first caught the attention of some scouts and analysts.

Predraft work continued in late February with a head-turning performance at the combine, and he was happy with his showing in Columbus, too.

"It's been hard work," he said. "Training for pro day and training for the combine means a stricter diet, a stricter training method than anything we've ever done. To finally be able to say, ‘Hey, it's over with.' It feels great. It feels like mission accomplished."

Freeman said he ran between 4.48 and 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash, improving an already good time of 4.74 from the combine.

"I think I did well at the combine and I think I improved even more here," he said. "Just being here and able to compete, that's what they want to see you do. They want to see if you can compete and put up the numbers you did at the combine. Can you put it all together? Does your film work and your numbers all come together and make you a complete player?"

Not only did he feel happy about his performances, he also heard positive things in response.

"I got a lot of good feedback," he said. "You have some tougher than others. Some guys try to break you down. The feedback I heard overall was very good."

Among those who tried to break him down were coaches from the New Orleans Saints. Freeman said they were the source of an episode also involving Laurinaitis that drew some attention because of a report on

The national website reported an anonymous coach asking Laurinaitis to identify for him the last Ohio State linebacker to perform well in the NFL.

"The Saints guys said, ‘Why would we draft you?' " said Freeman, who said he and Laurinaitis received similar questions. "They want to be tough and want to see how you react. We're proud of the guys we've had here and the success they've had in the NFL. We still look up to those guys, so it's great."

As for himself, Freeman hopes he has managed to work himself up to a day one pick, which now means he would hear his name called in one of the first two rounds.

He seemed ready to sit back and let the rest of the process play itself out without too much stress, though.

"I'm very confident going into the draft," he said. "Whatever happens, happens. That's something you can't control now."

As for teams showing interest in Freeman, he said he already had scheduled workouts with the Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys with more likely to come.

Possibly also interested are the Cincinnati Bengals, the team Freeman grew up a fan of in the Dayton area.

He got an early chance to show the Cincinnati coaching staff, including head coach Marvin Lewis and linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald, what he can do when they coached him on the North squad at the Senior Bowl.

FitzGerald also conducted drills at Ohio State on pro day, and Freeman said they have developed a personal relationship.

"I am able to pick up the phone any time I need to and call him to ask him what to prepare for and he helped me out a lot," Freeman said. "Being able to have a relationship with a coach like that is pretty cool."

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