Florida State running back Devonta Freeman is positioning himself to be a prized mid-round pick, although NFL teams who are excited about him might be disappointed when he goes off the draft board too soon for them, according to NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
Tuesday on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft," Jeremiah and fellow analyst Charles Davis had strong praise for Freeman, who performed at Florida State's pro day but stood on his 4.58 40-yard dash clocking from the NFL Scouting Combine.
"He's a player you keep hearing about," Jeremiah said. "Everybody loves him, and they think they're the only team that loves him. I keep telling them, 'You're not alone here.' If you want to get him in the fourth round, I think you're going to be out of luck. You're going to have to take him a little bit higher than that."
Davis said he likes Freeman for his ability to do everything that's required of a rusher, beyond simply carrying the ball.
"To me, he's a guy who does everything well," Davis said. "I think he'll be a mid-round guy who is going to make somebody's team much better. ... He catches it, he blocks, he runs (and was) over a 1,000-yard rusher last year. I think Devonta Freeman is a steal for someone waiting to happen. People just have not locked in on him."
Freeman enjoyed his best collegiate season by far last year in the Seminoles' BCS national championship run, amassing 1,016 yards on only 173 carries and 14 touchdowns. He added 278 receiving yards, all career highs. With the running back position in a period of draft devaluation, Freeman might prove to be as viable a backfield option as a number of backs chosen ahead of him. Ohio State's Carlos Hyde is expected to be the first running back chosen, although it's unclear whether he'll even go in the first round.
Freeman's draft ceiling figures to be in the second or third round.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.