Top Prospects: Freeman Is No Tiny Dancer


*In the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft, scheduled for April 25-26, will take a look at the top collegiate prospects from each position group. *

Watch Josh Freeman's Combine Press Conference

The Ravens have seen their share of bigger quarterbacks, especially after facing Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers multiple times a year.

And just as the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Roethlisberger was notoriously tough for Baltimore's fierce pass rush to bring down, there is another prospect entering the NFL that could rival "Big Ben."

That distinction falls on Kansas State's Josh Freeman, who at 6-foot-6, 248 pounds, might be just as elusive.

The junior is rated by many as the third-best quarterback in the upcoming draft, but he is athletic enough to rival both Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez. In fact, many mock drafts have him rapidly moving up into the first round - perhaps into the top 20 selections.

Freeman said his body frame can lead others into misconceptions about who he is as a player.

"A lot of people assume that a 6-6 guy is going to be a big ol' lumbering-type guy," Freeman said at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. "But I have a lot of athletic ability and ability to throw the ball.

"Of course, I prefer to sit in the pocket and deliver the ball on time, but it's always something I've got in my back pocket in case things break down," he continued.

The dual threat demonstrated his ability throughout his decorated college career.

As a freshman, he was the only true frosh quarterback to lead his team to a bowl game. The following year, he set five school passing records - most completions in a game (36) and season (316), most attempts in a season (499), most passing yards in a season (3,353)and most 300-yard passing games in a season (four).

Then in 2008, Freeman ranked 17th in the nation in total offense, averaging 279.08 yards per game. He completed 224 of 382 attempts (58.54 percent) for 2,945 yards, a career-high 20 touchdowns and a career-low eight interceptions.

What's more, the Freeman hung 14 rushing touchdowns on the board, even racking up 404 yards on the ground.

That versatility - a big arm that zips the long ball, the size to stand up to would-be tacklers, and shifty feet - is why Freeman considers himself a mash-up of Roethlisberger and Philadelphia Eagles signal caller Donovan McNabb.

Both Roethlisberger and McNabb are masters at creating extra time for themselves in the backfield, running around defenders while their receivers get open.

"First and foremost, Ben Roethlisberger for the size and ability to move around the pocket and extend the play," Freeman said when asked about a pro comparison. "And also Donovan McNabb, just the way he harnesses his athletic ability and is still able to sit in the pocket and be a pocket passer."

Of course, those two quarterbacks have played in three of the last five Super Bowls, so they could prove to be lofty evaluations.

Freeman doesn't think so, though. With the confidence of the leader he is known to be, Freeman wants to win like those two Pro Bowlers, as well, even if it is at the expense of the rest of the quarterback Class of 2009.

"Mark and Matt are both great quarterbacks and the rest of them all had great careers, but I feel I bring the complete package in terms of arm strength, leadership and the ability to extend the play and make something happen and overall presence on the field," he summarized.

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