Josh Freeman has grown up a lot since this point.

Then and now: Josh Freeman

We have come to the end of the Bucs 2009 draft class and now look at the Bucs first round pick, Josh Freeman. Freeman, the 6’6” and 248 lb. quarterback out of Kansas State, came to Tampa as the quarterback of the future, but believed he would have some time to learn, instead, he was thrown right into the fire early in the season. While the season was mostly a bad one, there were many positives that came from it.

Freeman became the Bucs starting quarterback early in the season after the Bucs shuffled through starting quarterbacks, deciding that it was time for Freeman to take over and learn. Freeman played well through the season, learning as he went. He threw for 1855 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions (look at his receiving core last year). He also completed 55% of his passes and had a quarterback rating of 59.8.

Freeman is a unique athlete. He has a strong arm, able to deliver long bombs down field, but able to throw the short range pass with accuracy. He has good speed, not elite, but his long strides allow him to buy time in the pocket and pick up short yardage when he needs to.

Freeman is now the leader of the franchise and he has a tough task ahead of him. The talent around him is very young and the learning curve for young quarterbacks is tough in the league, being a bust of a pick is something that everyone is always thinking in their minds. I mentioned in an earlier that Freeman should take notes about the failures of former 1st round pick, Jamarcus Russell. Freeman has the similar build to Russell and the same weight of a franchise on his shoulders. Yet, Freeman is doing all he can to put those rumors away. Freeman works hard, always in the film room, always staying after practice, and showing up earlier than anyone on the team, showing he is dedicated to the job. Freeman is also becoming a larger part of the community, holding a mini football camp for the youth this offseason, just one of the many moves he is making to make himself part of the Bay area.

Freeman is ready to take on another season as the leader of a very young and inexperienced Bucs offense, but hopes are high for Freeman. He has all the potential in the world to become the franchise quarterback for the next decade. The 2009 draft class was a class of new talent, adding depth, and reloading the team with youth as the Bucs continue to rebuild themselves and set a new identity for themselves. It should be interesting to see how the young players from this class perform this year and the years to come.

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