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Ric Serritella and Dane Vandernat discuss roster construction in the offseason

Ric Serritella and Dane Vandernat discuss roster construction in the offseason

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NFL Draft Profile: Blake Freeland, Offensive Tackle, BYU Cougars

NFL draft profile scouting report for BYU offensive tackle, Blake Freeland

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#71
Pos: OT
Ht: 6080
Wt: 305
DOB: 5/3/_
Eligible: 2022
Herriman, UT
Herriman High School

Blake Freeland
BYU Cougars


Pros:

Ezring: The BYU football program took off in 2020 behind an explosive offense that featured several breakout stars. One such player was Blake Freeland. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Cougars’ standout’s game is the fact that he is still new to the tackle position. The former quarterback has grown in every game and experienced a significant jump between 2020 and 2021. The athletic prospect is a former state champion in shot put and javelin, two sports that translate well to offensive tackle play (especially shot put). On the field, Freeland displays notable movement skills and clean hips. Further, the BYU tackle has natural power and an anchor when he practices proper technique and low hands. His heavy hands slow defensive linemen when he initiates contact. Freeland’s anchor improved in 2021 as his technique progressed. In the run game, the athletic lineman is very effective in zone concepts; he creates space with his leg drive and power. He regularly seals the backside C gap. Moreover, Freeland gets to space with ease; he consistently reaches the second and third levels while also being able to pull and reach. In pass protection, the Utah native has the athleticism to mirror both before and after contact. He easily sticks with defenders up the outside track. Freeland is very patient in pass protection, typically waiting to engage until his opponents come within range. The Cougars’ tackle generally maintains active feet and a wide base through engagement.

Cons:

Ezring: While BYU’s experienced starter has improved drastically since stepping foot on campus, there are still various areas where the former 260-pound “athlete” recruit must develop before he can see meaningful snaps in the NFL. First and foremost, Freeland’s core and grip strength are ostensibly lacking. As a result, he does not control opponents or sustain blocks consistently. Despite his improved power during his time at BYU, the Cougars’ standout’s projection to the league against stronger opponents is concerning. Technical issues see defenders reach Freeland’s frame and work him onto his heels. Although his anchor has improved since 2020, the tackle will see a learning curve in the NFL. What’s more, Freeland must clear up various technical problems in his game. He sometimes narrows or stagnates his feet. When his feet fall inactive, he struggles to mirror, limits his functional strength, and grabs at opponents. Moreover, Freeland often loses the leverage battle and is susceptible to power moves. Additionally, the BYU tackle invites defenders into his frame with wide and late hands too frequently. Freeland exhibits poor weight distribution and leans into his blocks. In space, he takes awkward angles to engagement and fails to break down. His eyes in pass protection need work.

Summary:

Ezring: An excellent athlete with the consistent growth that is crucial to a developmental prospect’s projection, BYU’s standout left tackle should be a rosterable backup early. Freeland’s notable movement skills and promising power can, in time, translate to a starting role in a zone scheme. The tackle-only prospect will need to refine his pad level and hand usage before he sees an NFL field with any regularity. Still, Blake Freeland is a potential riser in the 2022 tackle class. 

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Background:

Born on May 3rd in Herriman, Utah to parents Debbie and James Freeland, Blake Freeland has four sisters and is part of an extremely athletic family. His father played football at BYU from 1994 to 1995; his mother had an outstanding women’s basketball career at BYU (1991-1995), garnering recognition as an honorable mention All-American. His sister, Sierra, is on the BYU track and field team. Blake Freeland, like the rest of his family, is an outstanding athlete. He excelled in multiple sports at Herriman High School. The Principal’s Honor Roll student won the UHSAA Spirit of Sport Award and was a 2015 State Champion on the gridiron. He was a three-time captain of the football team and was named all-region twice. Freeland was also a two-time captain of the school’s basketball team and earned all-state honors in 2018 on the hardwood. Perhaps his best sport in high school, though, was track and field. Freeland was an all-state selection six times. He was also State Champion in shot put and javelin. He still holds the 6A javelin state record. After an impressive high school career, 247Sports Composite Rankings gave Freeland a three-star rating. The same service named him the 1334th-overall recruit nationally, the 105th-best athlete in his year, and the 9th-ranked player from Utah in his class. Despite being recruited by west-coast powerhouses like USC, UCLA, and Washington, Freeland held just three offers: BYU, Utah, and Vanderbilt. As a freshman in Provo, the well-rounded athlete started the final seven games of the season. He was part of Pro Football Focus’s 12th-ranked offensive line in the country and an offense that ranked 26th in passing yards per game. As a sophomore in 2020, Freeland started eight of the 11 games he played in. He was a key part of a BYU offensive line that ranked eighth in the nation in sacks allowed. Freeland, himself, allowed just two pressures on 293 regular-season pass-blocking snaps. He helped the BYU offense to national rankings of fourth in scoring, seventh in total offense, and eighth in passing offense. So far in 2021, Freeland has been a reliable and outstanding starter at left tackle. He is majoring in business. 


One-Liners

Ezring: An excellent athlete with the consistent growth that is crucial to a developmental prospect’s projection, Blake Freeland’s notable movement skills and promising power may, in time, translate to a starting role in a zone offense; first, he needs to clean up various technical issues.

Grades

Current Player Value/Potential Player Value

Ezring: 7.2 / 8.5


#71
Pos: OT
Ht: 6080
Wt: 305
DOB: 5/3/_
Eligible: 2022
Herriman, UT
Herriman High School

Blake Freeland
BYU Cougars


Pros:

Ezring: The BYU football program took off in 2020 behind an explosive offense that featured several breakout stars. One such player was Blake Freeland. Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the Cougars’ standout’s game is the fact that he is still new to the tackle position. The former quarterback has grown in every game and experienced a significant jump between 2020 and 2021. The athletic prospect is a former state champion in shot put and javelin, two sports that translate well to offensive tackle play (especially shot put). On the field, Freeland displays notable movement skills and clean hips. Further, the BYU tackle has natural power and an anchor when he practices proper technique and low hands. His heavy hands slow defensive linemen when he initiates contact. Freeland’s anchor improved in 2021 as his technique progressed. In the run game, the athletic lineman is very effective in zone concepts; he creates space with his leg drive and power. He regularly seals the backside C gap. Moreover, Freeland gets to space with ease; he consistently reaches the second and third levels while also being able to pull and reach. In pass protection, the Utah native has the athleticism to mirror both before and after contact. He easily sticks with defenders up the outside track. Freeland is very patient in pass protection, typically waiting to engage until his opponents come within range. The Cougars’ tackle generally maintains active feet and a wide base through engagement.

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