BYU offensive tackle Blake Freeland is one of the most athletic blindside protectors in the 2023 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-7, 302-pound Freeland put forth 93rd percentile or better results in the 40-yard dash (4.98), broad jump (120 inches), and vertical jump (37 inches). NFL teams will jockey for positioning to draft Freeland.
Freeland recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about working on his athletic traits at Sanford Power, working positional drills with Paul Alexander and Joe Staley, and so much more. Freeland has 10-year starter potential.
JM: You’ve been training at Sanford Power in Irvine, California with Curt Truhe and his team. How have they gotten you right throughout this process?
Blake Freeland: Those are a bunch of great dudes right there. My agency Rep 1 connected us with Sanford Power and they’ve been amazing. All of our [Rep 1] prospects are working with them and we’ve all had an amazing pre-draft process. We all performed really well at the NFL Scouting Combine for example.
I give a ton of credit to Sanford Power. They got us on the right nutrition and supplement plan. The training plan was perfect. I loved working with them. I think they helped elevate my performance a bunch.
JM: That training paid off. You were outstanding at the NFL Scouting Combine. You recorded a 120-inch broad jump (98th percentile), a 37-inch vertical (99th percentile), and ran a 4.98 in the 40 (93rd percentile). How would you grade your performance?
Blake Freeland: I thought I did well. I could have done a little better though. There were a few areas where I thought the numbers could have been a bit better. I’d grade my performance with an “A.” There’s always room for an A-plus though (laughs). It was a great performance. I’m happy with how it turned out. It was a great experience. I enjoyed showing what I could do out there.
JM: You recently connected with the legendary Joe Staley and Paul Alexander to work some position drills. That sounds like an amazing opportunity and partnership. What was that like?
Blake Freeland: Dude. That was amazing (laughs). I’ve been watching Joe Staley play offensive tackle since I was a little kid. He’s a beast. Being able to work with them was amazing. Coach Paul Alexander is a mastermind when it comes to the offensive tackle position. He’s a legit guru.
Alexander knows so many great techniques. He’s taught so many of the amazing offensive tackles that are in the league right now. Combining his coaching experience with Staley’s 13-year career, it was an invaluable resource for me. I learned so much from the two of them.
I tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could. I’m going to keep in contact with both of them (laughs). It was a wonderful experience.
JM: That’s incredible. You have plenty of experience playing both left and right tackle. What’s the main difference, and which do you see yourself playing next season?
Blake Freeland: There’s not a big difference between left and right tackle in my opinion. That’s the honest truth. It can be tough to go back and forth if you’ve been playing one of them for a long time. It can be tough to get back adjusted to the other position.
When I moved to left tackle, it was tough for those first few weeks of spring ball. After that, it’s smooth sailing. It all comes with reps. It became a lot easier when I had a little experience under my belt.
I can play both positions. I think I played both at a high level at BYU. I’m ready to fulfill whatever need at the next level. I’m ready to play either position at the highest level imaginable at the next level.
JM: Can you see yourself playing in a zone-based system? BYU ran a ton of those concepts and you’re so athletic.
Blake Freeland: We ran a lot of outside zone and inside zone at BYU. I’ve been executing those concepts for the past four years. I’m definitely well-versed in that scheme. I was able to run a lot of gap and power at the Senior Bowl. It was fun to switch it up a bit. I grew to love those duo and power concepts in Mobile.
JM: I thought you were especially effective in run blocking. You can pull or stretch at the point of attack and you have a great feel for blocking angles. What do you enjoy about run blocking?
Blake Freeland: Firstly, thanks for watching the tape and saying that (laughs). I love firing off the ball. I love playing fast and physical. There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to stretch your assignment and pressing him as far as you can while seeing your running back cut up your backside for a big gain or a touchdown. That’s the best feeling in the world.
JM: You did a bunch of that on tape. Have you completed any Top 30 visits, private workouts, or Zoom meetings?
Blake Freeland: I’ve met with more than 10 teams on Zoom. That list included the Packers, Falcons, Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Browns, Texans, and Saints. I met with offensive line coaches from the Saints, Jets, and Bengals at my Pro Day. I got a great feel for their offense. It was a fun experience. I spoke with them in person and got to know them. I met with all 32 teams at the Senior Bowl as well. It’s been a busy process.
JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why. We’ve appreciated your time today. What kind of impact is Blake Freeland going to make at the next level?
Blake Freeland: I’m going to come in and work as hard as I can. I’m going to do whatever I can to help improve the team. If I have to come in and start right away, I can do that. I can play both left and right tackle. I’m going to fill whatever role they have for me. I’m going to compete and fight for a job.
I’m going to play in this league for as long as I can.
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