After hobbling through much of his senior season, Freeman sees the workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium for the NFL Scouting Combine as his chance to show scouts what he can do when healthy.
“I feel like (in) a lot of film that I’ve had this year I was injured, but I feel healthy now and feel ready to go,” he said last week just before a training session at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in Columbus.
Not that Freeman played poorly in his final season in scarlet and gray. He finished second on the team with 84 tackles, including a team-best 9.5 for loss. He had 3.5 sacks and broke up four passes.
Some analysts have pegged the 6-1, 239-pound Freeman a candidate for a big jump in draft stock with an impressive performance in Indianapolis, and he feels he can help himself more than the average prospect.
“Yeah because I feel like this is something I excel at,” he said. “Doing the NFL things and doing this combine stuff is something I excel at and something that will hopefully help me out a lot.
“The combine is big to be able to compare yourself not just on film but with numbers you get there to see where you measure up. Position drills are very important because that’s what you do. That’s football. Anybody can run fast and bench a lot, but can you do the football-specific things?”
Scout.com rates him a four-star prospect and the No. 6 outside linebacker available in the draft.
He says his draft projections are all over the place.
“I’ve heard from third round to late first round,” he said. “You hear so much stuff, you don’t know. You just go out there and hopefully on Saturday or Sunday your name gets called and you move on from there.
“I’m excited. That’s why we train. We’re working as hard as we can. I’m excited to get out there and see where I match up against these guys.”
He plans to do every available drill and workout at the combine, a practice not always followed by other prospects, some of whom would prefer to workout in more familiar settings.
“For me I think I excel at on-the-field things, a lot of these timing things,” he said. “So why would you try to hide it? If you’re going to excel, go out there and show’em as good as you can and then move on.”
Now fully healthy, he will look to build on a strong showing at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., in January. After earning some praise from analysts for his work during the week of practice leading up to the game, the Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne product turned in a game-high eight tackles as his North team went down to defeat.
“It was huge,” he said of his time in Mobile. “It gave you a chance to showcase your talent actually playing football, not just running and benching but to play football in front of tons of scouts, tons of GMs, tons of coaches to see where you match up against these guys.”