Where Devonta Freeman Wins
Freeman is one of the smartest runners in this class and uses his intelligence in an aggressive manner. He is smart enough to let his blocks develop, but when he sticks his foot in the ground, he presses and hits the hole hard. His vision is upper tier, both at the line of scrimmage and in traffic, as seen in the GIF below.
Freeman also shows good instincts and elusiveness in space. He has good short area quickness and a fluid run style that lets him make defenders miss such as in the GIF below. He is the type of back that can run through trash at the second level, a muddied line of scrimmage, and in space. Truly versatile.
While Freeman does not possess upper-tier athleticism, he can make good use of his foot quickness in short spaces and with lateral cuts. He has the quickness and fluidity to be able to string together several cuts while maintaining burst.
Freeman will be able to contribute on third down as well. He has the quickness, vision, and hands to be a receiving threat out of the backfield while also being one of the few running backs that seems to relish pass pro. He does not exactly have the build or strength for it, but the willingness and aggression are there and can be built upon.
Where Devonta Freeman Needs To Improve
Up to this point, this write up has been very positive. I truly do not have many qualms with Freeman. But my main issue is a big one and one I think he will not be able to take the next step until it is fixed. Freeman lacks bulk, specifically in the upper body, and despite having the vision and quick feet to manage a muddied line of scrimmage, he simply does not have the strength to break first contact on a consistent basis, and he was too often brought down by arm tackles at both the line of scrimmage and second level.
Freeman also does not possess dynamic athleticism, but this is not really an issue for me because with his style and adequate quickness I think he is well off.
I came away as a big fan of Freeman. He possesses many of the things that make up a successful running back: vision, quickness, and balance. He will also make any team that drafts him happy with his third down potential. The only things I think he lacks are strength and dynamic athleticism, but overall he looks the part of a solid running back who will help sustain drives.
Grade: 7.25, Day 2.