Can everyone take a step back and realize Devonta Freeman is entering his second year as an NFL player? It seems like everybody has written him off due to the draft selection of Tevin Coleman. Coleman was a hell of a college running back, but he hasn’t played a single down in the NFL. You know who has played? Devonta Freeman! Freeman seems to be the “forgotten man” in Atlanta, and Falcons fans need to realize that he will get a lot of playing time this upcoming season.
A second-year player out of Florida State, Devonta Freeman had an average rookie season. He had 65 carries for 257 yards, averaging out to 4.0 yards per carry. He never started a game last season, but he showed flashes of serious potential. He is elusive, quick, and powerful for his size. He is only 5’8”, but he has very powerful legs that he uses to bowl over defenders and fight for extra yards. He could be in for the same type of year Justin Forsett had last season. Forsett was another overlooked 5’8” running back who got a lot of the carries for the Baltimore Ravens due to the departure of Ray Rice. He preformed well above expectations and even made the pro-bowl last season. The Ravens feature the same type of Zone Blocking Scheme that the Falcons will be using this season. Freeman has a similar running style to Forsett and he could be in for a big season. The “forgotten players” seem to find ways to perform well above expectations each and every year, and Freeman could do that in 2015.
Freeman loves the game of football. He wants to have that pressure to make the big plays or short yardage plays to move the chains. He told the associated press during the offseason, “This has always been my dream. I never had a dream to come to the NFL and play second to no man.” Basically Freeman does not want to be a backup to anyone, and he wants to be behind or beside his quarterback. Now it is easy to talk a big game, but can Freeman back it up? He will have his opportunity to prove it, as he is likely to be starting Week 1.
Freeman has another trait to him that separates his game from the normal running back; his pass catching ability. He had 30 receptions on 34 targets, which comes out to be 88.2% caught passes. His YAC (yards after catch) came out to be 4.6 yards, which is extremely productive. His YAC shows his ability to evade defenders and fight for extra yards. Having a running back that is a duel threat like Freeman can be a nightmare for opposing defenses.
Do not write Devonta Freeman off just yet. He is only entering his sophomore season in the NFL, and still has plenty of time to show his worth. He recently told the press that “he wants to be a starter”, showing a lot of confidence that he can be the lead back for this team. While Tevin Coleman could be an incredible running back, he is unproven and should not be forced to handle a full load right off the bat. Let’s not forget that Freeman’s mentor in this league was future hall of fame player Steven Jackson. Start to trust in Devonta Freeman because he has a lot of room to grow and will most likely be starting for the Falcons in 2015.