There’s no better way to describe the running style of rookie running back, Devonta Freeman. At 5’8″, 206 lbs, many assume Freeman is a scatback, but many would be wrong. He draws comparisons to Ahmad Bradshaw— a tough runner who initiates contact, rather than avoid it. He falls into an intriguing landing spot in Atlanta, a high-powered offense with a ton of weapons. And he’s also playing behind veteran running back, Steven Jackson.
For now, at least.
Freeman is easily the best pass-blocking back in this draft class, and coaches love backs who can protect the quarterback. That should help him see the field quite a bit. Not to mention Jacquizz Rodgers continues to tease the fantasy world, and Freeman is the better talent, and should serve as the backup. And while Jackson is still the lead back, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Freeman cut into his workload this year. During his time as the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville, Dirk Koetter used a committee approach with Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. Koetter also likes to utilize the screen game quite a bit, and Freeman fits that scenario better than an aging Jackson. Speaking of Jackson, he dealt with nagging hamstring issues all year, limiting him to 12 games. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he went down to injury.
Obviously, it isn’t ideal that he wasn’t drafted to a team where he could immediately become the starting back. That’s about as big of a negative there is. Also, even though they addressed their line in the draft by selecting stud tackle Jake Matthews, the Falcons offensive line was putrid last season, ranking 24th in run-blocking.
Freeman is more of a dynasty league guy, and someone I would definitely look to grab at the end of your draft, especially if you already drafted Jackson. However, I do think he plays a role in this offense in year one, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he became one of the waiver wire darlings of the year. If anything were to happen to Jackson, Freeman would step into a terrific offense and would be terrific.
Bye Week: 9
Projected Round: 11th-12th
Auction Value: $2