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Devonta Freeman NFL Draft 2014: Highlights, Scouting Report for Falcons RB

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07: Running back Devonta Freeman #8 of the Florida State Seminoles carries the ball against the Duke Blue Devils during the ACC Championship game at Bank of America Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Ryan LownesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2014

Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State (HT: 5’8¼”, WT: 206 lbs)

Atlanta Falcons

Fourth Round: 103rd Pick

Combine Weigh-In
HeightWeightArmHand
508220629 3/8"9 5/8"
nfl.com
Combine Workout
40-Yd dash10-Yd splitVertBroad3-ConeShuttle
4.581.5931.5"9'10"7.114.26
nfl.com

Positives

  • Elusive and slippery; makes defenders miss in the hole and in space; dodges direct tackles, reducing impact and staying on his feet
  • Decisive runner; is capable of creating his own yards and minimizes losses with a north-south style; does not waste much movement
  • Shows some burst; explodes through the hole and can turn the corner; is capable of creating early separation as a receiver
  • Displays vision and instincts, finding small creases in traffic
  • Good balance; has a very low center of gravity and is a resilient runner
  • Runs with good pad level; can make himself skinny in the hole and lowers his shoulder pads to help him gain additional yards after contact
  • Shifty with good lateral agility and light feet
  • Excels between the tackles; lack of height can actually be spun as a positive as it is difficult to find him in traffic
  • Decent receiver out of the backfield; average receiving production at Florida State, but it fell in line with his usage rate
  • Good ball security, changes the ball to his outside hand and rarely fumbles
  • Had some pass protection responsibility in college, and while his technique leaves much to be desired, he appears to be a willing blocker unafraid of contact that is capable of catching defenders
  • Durable, never missed a game because of injury in three years

 

Negatives

  • Lacks power; does not have the prototypical bulk or lower-body strength; is not a punishing runner and is unable to run through tackles; must continue to add muscle
  • Average top-end speed; is not much of a breakaway threat and tends to play to his timed speed
  • Inconsistent blocker; lacks functional strength and sometimes appears to have trouble locating blocks in space; too often leaves his arms down by his side; pass protection technique requires work
  • Lacks dynamic qualities; does not make explosive cuts, nor does he change gears to rip off huge chunks of yardage
  • Not an ideal short-yardage or goal-line back
  • Never had to fully carry the load at Florida State; exceeded 20 carries only twice during his college career; may be limited to a committee role at the next level; production had been largely average until a junior season in which he had much more talent around him
  • Small for NFL feature back; while lack of height and considerable bulk is not necessarily a knock, it reinforces the complementary back image
  • Had the luxury of playing on one of the nation’s best offenses; ran behind a big, talented line, and opponents had to be constantly concerned about play-action due to a prolific passing attack

 

Rushing Statistics
YearTeamCarYardsAvgTD
2011Florida State1205794.88
2012Florida State1116605.98
2013Florida State17310165.914
http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/stats/_/id/514134/devonta-freeman
Receiving Statistics
YearTeamRecYardsAvgTD
2011Florida State2227812.61
2012Florida State10868.60
2013Florida State151117.40
http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/stats/_/id/514134/devonta-freeman

 

Personal Notes

  • First team All-ACC 2013
  • Earned one of six freshman academic awards 2011

 

Ratings Chart

nces.ed.gov

 

Overall

A key member of Florida State’s national championship team, Devonta Freeman experienced a breakout season with an increased role in the offense and a Heisman trophy winner at the helm. With an impressive blend of burst, vision, and balance, he fits into either a zone or man-blocking scheme. Lacking ideal bulk or speed, however, could limit him to a complementary role at the next level. If he is able to improve his pass protection technique he could contribute in an NFL backfield as a rookie.

 

Draft Projection: Third-Fourth Round

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