Posted in General News

Bucs paniced, traded up to get their man

by Roland Johnson on April 26, 2009

News is beginning to trickle out as too why the Buccaneers jumped two spots, if you are one of the many fanatics, who reads this blog and are actually wondering why the Buccaneers jumped just two spots to take Kansas State QB Josh Freeman with the 17th overall pick, rather then just stand pat at nineteen. The answer is, they were of the mind set that the Minnesota Vikings or a host of other teams were highly interested in leap frogging them to take Freeman.

The future could be sooner then some fans think

The future could be sooner then some fans think

“We knew people had interest. People knew about my unique relationship with Josh. You get a little nervous, you don’t want people to jump you, and so you move up to get your guy.” said Morris. Source: PewterReport.com

While no one, has ever questioned Freeman’s arm strength, he firmly believes that is what sets him apart from the two QB’s that were drafted ahead of him in the first round, lacking no confidence, Freeman will get a chance to show the world, but this fanatic thinks he better study up on reading defenses and improve on his overall fundamentals, cause arm strength isn’t anything if you have a 2 cent head.

“Obviously I know me. I feel like I have the best arm of the bunch. I feel like when it comes down to it my ability to make things happen and extend plays is the x-factor. I mean I’m a big guy, a strong guy, extremely hard to sack. My ability to avoid the sack and make something happen in the end is what I do better.” Source: PewterReport.com

“When you come in as a quarterback you have to work on everything. You have to learn how to run the huddle and run your team. You’ve got to be the guy everyone leans on. There’s a lot of things thrown his way. He’s already been schooled up pretty well. I know a couple of his coaches, and they are good. You bring him in to meet people and they’re always walking away saying, ‘Wow, that guy is pretty talented. Or, he was more impressive than I thought. Wow, I’m impressed.’ He did that in this building.” Source: PewterReport.com

Dominik, expected the backlash from fans with the selection of Josh

Morris & Dominik go over draft plans after the selection of Freeman

Morris & Dominik go over draft plans after the selection of Freeman

Freeman, But figured the risk reward factor was just to great too pass up.

“I knew it would be that way,” Dominik said. “I know this town. I’ve been in this town for 15 years, and I know it’s defense, defense, defense. I was raised in it. I believe it. So does Raheem.

“But when you have a chance to get a quarterback like this, you go get him. It was something that was very important to us, something we really felt. We thought, ‘Let’s really make our mark with this football team.’” Source: TampaTribune.com

Penciled in starter, Luke McCown was given a straight forward message from Morris the day he resigned, that had him guessing the Bucs would possibly select a quarterback in the draft, but was given assurances that it would be an open competition.

“I kind of expected it,” McCown said of the Bucs drafting Freeman. “They are putting together a group of guys that they want to compete, and that’s the way that they feel they are going to go about doing it, so the competition is welcome in my eyes. I have a great opportunity. I’m going to take the bull by the horns. I feel like I showed a lot in the early mini-camp. I’m going to keep it up, and keep competing. Like I said it doesn’t matter to me who they bring in. I’m going to do my best to make sure that person doesn’t get to play. It has been a long time coming and I’m going to make sure that I do everything I can to make sure I’m the one playing.

“It’s already been said,” said Morris. “When you sign Luke McCown you give him straight-forward honesty. ‘Hey, Luke, I’m going to create a competitive environment. I’m not handing you anything. Worst-case scenario, I’m drafting a quarterback with the 19th pick. In my office with Luke McCown – we had this conversation. The worst-case scenario for you is your Drew Brees if you become my starter and I have to trade you. But then I get value for you and you get value for yourself. Your Matt Cassel and your contract runs out and I trade you.’ He’s pretty jacked up, and so is Bryon. They see opportunity.”

“Yeah, that was the first conversation that Raheem and I had when I re-signed. That is what he was telling me,” said McCown. “He said, ‘Look who knows how we will go about nabbing these other guys, and we may draft one in the first round.’ He said ‘it doesn’t matter because you have the opportunity to play well enough to make our decision, to put us in a Drew Brees and Philip Rivers situation,’ I was very comfortable with that. I was glad to hear him voice that to me, and to give me that opportunity to be the starter. I’m going to approach every practice, every rep, every weight lifting session like I am a starter and have that be my mentality and continue to compete.” Source: PewterReport.com

Here is a complete scouting report from NFLDraftscout.com

Positives: Tall frame with a solid build. Arm strength allows him to make all of the NFL throws and attack the deep half. Stands tall, will step up in the pocket, keep his eyes downfield and deliver the ball to secondary target. Good, not great, quickness on release. Keeps the ball low over the middle, away from defenders. Can be accurate on fades and corner routes, although he needs a bit more air under the ball. Good straight-ahead runner with long strides and deceptive speed, can shed arm tackles and uses his tall frame to get extra yards after contact. Dropped some weight to better his footwork and speed. Works under center and in the shotgun.

Negatives: Must improve his footwork. His height makes him take long strides in his drop. Fails to step into his throws or square his shoulders at times, relies on his arm strength too often. Inconsistent accuracy from the pocket and throwing on the run. Needs to anticipate downfield throws better, sometimes getting the ball to his receiver a second early or late. Prone to turnovers, makes poor decisions trying to make plays that aren’t there. Does not feel backside pressure. Lacks touch on shorter throws. Ball comes out of his hands poorly at times, negating his arm strength. Sometimes pats the ball before the throws. Loose with the ball in the pocket and as a runner. Doesn’t move the pile as you’d expect in short-yardage situations, but his height allows him to be effective.

GENERAL REPORT GRADE: 6.94

Body Structure: Freeman has a solid build with long limbs and a well-proportioned, tall frame, looking the part of a classic pocket quarterback. He has a tight waist and thick thighs and calves, but doesn’t have much more room for additional growth without an adverse impact on his quickness.

Athletic Ability: Well-built athlete with excellent height and muscle tone for his position. He shows good strength and balance as a runner with the strength to break arm tackles. Has good quarterback skills, but needs to quicken his release. He displays one of the strongest throwing arms in this draft and shows good change-of-direction agility running with the ball or when escaping pressure. He has very good lower-body explosion to run into the second level, and the result from dropping weight (10 pounds) prior to the 2008 season was better footwork driving back from center to his set point and 14 touchdown runs. Takes long strides, shows good savvy setting up the defender when forced to run with the ball and enough scrambling ability to make things happen rolling out of the pocket. Has a strong arm to make throws on the move and has the arm velocity to get the ball deep downfield. He has made improvement in his timing and shows much better field vision than he did in the past. Sets up quickly and shows good mechanics and precision in the intermediate passing game. Can do a better job anticipating receivers coming out of their breaks and had a tendency to be late hitting targets on deep throws. For a player his size, he has decent mobility, but does get his feet crossed at times. GRADE: 8.0

Football Sense: Is a good rhythm passer, but could have used a year or two in a pro-style offense. Not great anticipating breaks on deep routes by his receivers and must do a better job of reading coverage and making checks, as he is prone to throwing into tight areas. There could be questions about his ability to make proper reads and act instinctively. He showed a better grasp for the system as a junior, but needs time before he is comfortable calling his own game. GRADE: 6.0

Character: Comes from a football family and gets good support. He has no known off-field issues and spends a lot of his spare time in the film room. He is a solid leader on the field and players have total confidence in him. He is a hard worker who also takes well to hard coaching. GRADE: 7.1

Competitiveness: Freeman is highly competitive on the field which can also get him into trouble on the field. He plays as if the next snap is his last and even though he was yanked from just one game during his career, his sense of urgency to create something with the ball in his hands could lead to costly interceptions, especially when he tries to fire into tight areas. He will show no hesitation running with the ball but he has coughed up the ball quite a bit when trying to do something on the run (23 fumbles, turning it over 12 times in his three years as a starter). GRADE: 6.6

Work Habits: Freeman has a strong frame and likes being “one of the guys” in the locker room and weight room. He is a good self-starter with solid football bloodlines (father played in the USFL and is a high school coach). He is well-respected, yet assertive in the huddle and a take-charge type in a positive way. He plays through pain and despite poor pass protection, you will not see him get openly frustrated on the field. He throws under duress and plays with good poise and confidence. GRADE: 7.0

ATHLETIC REPORT GRADE: 6.78

Setup: Smooth, athletic mover who sets up quickly and is ready to throw, but because of his long limbs and stride, he has to consciously set his feet and avoid throwing off of his back foot. Has good chest depth and definition. Has to do a better job of squaring his shoulders before firing the ball. After dropping some weight from his sophomore year, Freeman had improved quickness dropping back from center as a junior. When he gets a quick drop from center, he has quick feet and is fundamentally sound with his balance and agility when setting up. He still needs to refine his foot placement through his delivery, but carries out his fakes and is a threat to run with the ball. GRADE: 6.4

Reading Defenses: Freeman is still a work in progress in this area. He lacks a good feel for progressions and can be a second late anticipating his target coming out of a break. He is tall moving in the pocket, but despite having the height to scan the field, he fails to recognize backside pressure. Adequate making decisions and will be sacked when he holds the ball too long. A big concern is his penchant for forcing the ball into coverage. In particular, zone coverages have confounded Freeman and he will eyeball his primary target. Early in 2008, he was making fine read progressions, but his consistency steadily faltered. When he throws into traffic, it is because he struggles to read coverage. GRADE: 5.6

Release: Has a functional release and can be overconfident in his arm strength. Locates targets on corner routes and shows good touch on fades, but the ball does not seem to like come out clean at all times. He has the arm strength to launch the ball quickly, but like Donovan McNabb in his early pro career, he has a penchant for patting the ball which slows down his delivery. When he executes a wind-up motion going over the top, his long throws wobble. When he steps into his throws, he generates better quickness getting the ball through the throwing arc, but must be conscious of not getting a high push with his delivery. In 2008, he ran his feet too much and must square his shoulders and step into his throws. He also showed better ability to take the hit and complete the hot read with his quick release. He needs to work on his footwork through his delivery, but has a quick over-the-top release, getting the ball out with good velocity when given time to throw. GRADE: 6.3

Arm Strength: Freeman’s best asset. He might not have the accuracy of Matthew Stafford, but he can give the Georgia quarterback a challenge throwing the long ball. Freeman must improve his touch on his shorter throws. Has some arc on his deep outs and he can feather the ball over the defender, but anticipating receivers coming out of their breaks has been a problem. When he stands tall in the pocket, he can make all of the NFL-caliber throws. He does a good job of keeping the ball away from defenders when he fires low. He puts good zip on mid-level tosses, especially when throwing 15-yard outs. When he throws off the back foot, his passes lose zip, but he worked hard to not do this as much in 2008 as he did in the past. He has the strength to control a secondary, whether in the deep or intermediate routes, but must continue to make strides in showing better touch on his underneath throws. In 2008, a refinement in a hitch in his release allowed him to make more pinpoint passes throwing it downfield over the middle. GRADE: 8.2

Accuracy: Runs hot and cold. He displayed great poise and accuracy vs. lesser competition early in the 2008 season, but once KSU got into the meat of the schedule and faced much more formidable opponents, he was under constant pressure and was forced to throw on the move, which affected his overall accuracy. He does throw a good, catchable ball with zip, but has to improve his touch on short routes, as he does not always make it easy for receivers. It is rare to see his long throws hang in the air and he is conscious of hitting his targets in stride over their outside shoulder. GRADE: 6.7

Touch: Freeman needs to improve his touch on short and intermediate throws. He shows much better timing taking a three-step drop, as he tends to hold it too long, resulting in more sacks on his five — and seven-step drops. He sometimes fails to locate the linebackers in zone coverage, but is accurate more often than not on his mid-range and deep throws. When he has time to set his feet and not throw on the move, he throws an easy ball with good placement going long. He is just starting to develop the instinctive feel for knowing when to take something off his passes, showing better touch on flares or when dropping it in over the top than he did his first two seasons. He needs to develop better touch for the underneath ball, but he did a much better job of delivering the ball with timing in 2008. He can throw the fade effectively and knows how to time the receiver’s breaks better than in the past. He still looks like he is a bit mechanical. GRADE: 6.3

Poise: He showed very good running skills and the power to break arm tackles running with the ball in 2008, scoring 14 rushing touchdowns, but that also showed that he might have “happy feet” from so many years of working with poor pass protection. He can stand tall in the pocket to look for secondary targets, but will hold onto it too long, resulting in costly sacks. He was under duress frequently the second part of 2008 and took some tremendous hits in the pocket, but does show enough patience and poise to get the job done, if given time. He needs to do a better job of anticipating backside pressure and know when the pass rush is coming. GRADE: 7.3

Leadership: Freeman is a mature, confident, competitive and tactful field general and highly respected by his troops. He only gets in trouble when he tries to create something out of nothing. He takes charge in the huddle and the team believes in him. His running success showed he is the type that wants the ball in the clutch, but he needs to do a better job of anticipating pressure. GRADE: 7.5

Pocket Movement: Freeman has no problem moving around the pocket and has the strength to break tackles on the move, but you would like to see him step up in the pocket and do a better job of recognizing backside pressure. He has adequate vision scanning the field and must make quicker decisions with the ball in his hands. He also needs to improve ball security, as 23 fumbles in three seasons (12 lost) will get him parked on the bench if that continues at the NFL level. He does show improvement maintaining focus downfield and good movement skills to avoid and elude, but he doesn’t feel for pressure has proven costly (23 fumbles, 34 interceptions, 146 pass attempts deflected by the opposition in three seasons). He is just not a great escape artist, but has the mobility to elude once he feels the heat. GRADE: 7.0

Scrambling Ability: Doesn’t scramble much and is more of a straight-line, one-cut runner with deceptive speed. He throws on the move to his right (squares his shoulders better to get accuracy) but isn’t accurate to his left. For a player with his size and strength, he is more comfortable challenging a defender and breaking tackles rather than trying to dance and weave through traffic. Will leave the ball exposed when running, resulting in fumble issues, and has to learn to keep the ball more secure before attacking the rush lanes. He is not effective throwing on the move, losing velocity on his long tosses and accuracy working underneath. He has the speed and change of direction agility to get out of the pocket and pick up yardage on the QB draw, but in order to have success in the NFL, he will need to improve his accuracy when rolling out. GRADE: 6.5

Compares To: JASON CAMPBELL, Washington — Freeman is a bit bigger and has more bulk. Both came from programs that really did not highlight their athletic talents, but like the Redskins did with Campbell, a team will have to show patience. He has a great arm that can rival Matthew Stafford’s but has to work on his delivery and release. With such a weak draft class at this position, he could be the third quarterback chosen in the first round. If Detroit trades down from the top spot, it is because they are convinced that Freeman will be around at number 20. OVERALL GRADE: 6.81

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