JOSH FREEMAN - "THE FIRST BUC FRANCHISE QB"?
Now that many of us have rebuilt the front room after the rage that broke out when the 17th overall pick was announced last Saturday evening, what does it mean for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Is Joshua Tyler Freeman the real deal? Will he ever be? As Martin Fennelly put it "let him play" is the only way to find out. But what are the signs pointing to?
Josh is a big lad...a very big lad at 6'5"-6'6" he ranks in the top 5% of NFL quarterbacks in height. Comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger are unfair on both the double Super Bowl winning QB and the rookie out of Kansa State. Sure on size alone there are similarities but Big Ben has won two Super Bowls and Josh hasn't even thrown a ball at minicamp yet.
Hardly fair to compare and contrast. All I will say is that they share a good level of mobility and tremendous arm strength. From the films I've seen I'd say that Josh may even have the edge on both counts, but lets not forget this is against college defences not the likes of the Baltimore Ravens!
I was surprised, disappointed, call it what you want when the Bucs took a QB in the first round, especially when the obvious need was some serious defensive bolstering. But the more I think about it, especially in the light of what I think will prove to be some very smart late round pick ups, I can see the sense in the move. I am bordering on excited about it.
If this kid can grow in both field presence and physical build (he is a touch skinny, maybe I'm just jealous?!?) over the coming season, under the guidance of his biggest fan, who just happens to be his Head Coach, then I think we will see Freeman start at some stage this season and, maybe, for many years to come.
Since the draft I've watched, read and listened to anything I can find about our #1 pick, and I have liked what I've seen. He has the mobility of Jeff Garcia, something that I believe is essential for the Buccaneers offence to extend plays and allow deep passing situations to develop.
He has the arm strength to Luke McCown and with deep threats such as K2, Antonio Bryant and Jeremy Stevens that arm strength could be the key to the Bucs offense finally stepping up in '09. He is the blank canvas to mould like Josh Johnson, but with more to start working with. While watching video of Josh I've seen him take some all mighty hits and get up and get on with it, so he has the toughness of Brian Griese too.
I'm not saying that Josh Freeman is now the best QB the Bucs have...but he might be. If he can prove through camp, pre-season and maybe even regular season game time that he can be a leader for this team and keeps his head in the face of an NFL pass rush then I think that this guy MIGHT just the the first ever Franchise QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
One last thought. If the rebuilding goes badly wrong and the Bucs end up with the number 1 pick in the 2010 draft would Tim Tebow be too good to ignore? Would he then be the Franchise QB...I wonder.