It’s a quarterback driven league, in today’s NFL, as it comes down to precisely who’s lining up under center that largely determines the success of a franchise. Without one of the top signal callers in the league, chances are the team you root for is like an amusement park ride with ups and downs and twists and turns charted in-between. As Jason Cole of YahooSports.com points out “The presence of an accomplished starter means everything.”
There’s a reason certain teams have been able to avoid the peaks and valleys associated with what many commonly refer to as “perennial cellar dwellers” it’s because the number one position and hardest to adequately man in all of football was stabilized by one of the games top tier players.
Now of course we’re not saying a team can’t have sustainability over a period of time without an elite quarterback, but the chances of remaining a consistent contender diminish greatly if your team has a high burn rate at the position.
Based off of what we all know about the complexities of the quarterback position at the NFL level Cole ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks. Depending on whatever player you favor, the top three are a given to be Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Now what order they fall for you, is highly debatable.
But after glancing through Cole’s rankings and where he ranked Josh Freeman, 26th for those wondering. While Cole ranks Freeman as the leagues 26th best quarterback at this juncture. He does speculate to the notion that in five years Freeman could be viewed as the best quarterback taken in the first round from the 2009 draft class.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh Freeman(notes), the third quarterback selected in the first round of the 2009 draft, did pretty much the same thing as Stafford and Sanchez from a statistical standpoint. And really, if you lined these guys up for an eyeball test, Freeman is not that far behind them. More important, Freeman has great makeup. His dad Ron played pro football and Freeman gets the big picture. There are going to be struggles because of the lack of talent around him, but don’t be surprised if five years from now Freeman is the best of the three.
Its not hard to fathom such a scenario, where Freeman catapults himself into the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks, especially when you consider his intangibles. From all the off season work in the film room, to calling up players and urging them to practice at One Buc Place. To showing up at the hotel rooms where Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams are staying, to go over practice notes to reduce mental mistakes by the rookies.
The growth has been exponential from Freeman’s rookie season to his sophomoric season. Whether or not it all translates on the field in the fall is a different story. But the leadership qualities that are being exhibited by Freeman along with his physical skill set, work ethic and drive is truly making pundits and fans believe that such a jump is possible.