Blake Freeland NFL Draft Scouting Report
OT, BYU Cougars
BYU OT Blake Freeland projects as a scheme-specific left tackle prospect in the NFL. Freeland has been a successful starter for the Cougars program for several seasons and his playing experience and stature give him an edge to eventually finding the field, but his athletic profile makes him a player who is not likely to be an ideal fit for all systems and ideologies across the league.
Originally a three-star recruit from Herriman High School in Utah, Freeland received significant interest from schools like Utah, USC, and Washington, among others. A shotput and javelin thrower, Freeland was a three-sport athlete who also excelled in basketball to go with his other accolades. Freeland ultimately followed in his father’s footsteps—James Freeland played linebacker for the Cougars from 1994-1995. Listed on his recruiting page at 247Sports at 260 pounds, Freeland has steadily added weight and carries his frame extremely well. He’s got an athletic build and doesn’t carry any unnecessary mass as a developed offensive lineman who has steadily jumped in weight after making the transition to BYU.
On the field, Freeland is a smothering run blocker in situations where he’s able to set the hook early and latch onto defenders. He’s got urgent push, effective grip strength, and a high level of reach to ensure he’s sticky on blocks and allows his backs to cut off his hip as needed. Freeland’s best film comes in the run game; they’ve asked him to pull or stretch the point of attack and his feel for angles initially on the A-level of the defense stands out here. He’s also intelligent in pass protection to identify opportunities to pass off or exchange his gap versus games, offering forcible encouragement to his guard to step inside. Freeland is a hulking presence on the line and his wingspan alone is a deterrent to defenders looking to shoot gaps and attack the backfield. While he doesn’t offer a lot of explosiveness through his hands, his punches are typically well-timed and he shows presence to try to leverage them into an ideal fit on the move.
One area Freeland is unlikely to see development or change is his pliability. Freeland is a linear mover who flashes plus athleticism in direct pathways to targets. But with a high center of gravity and stiffness through his core and hips, he does not break down well in space or illustrate the ability to sit down on his hips and absorb power through the lower half. Pad level is a consistent battle as a result of this as well, forcing Freeland to surrender his torso too often and rely on brute strength to absorb power rushes as compared to walking back and clamping rushers. Freeland’s ability to manipulate the point of attack falls onto latch power and upper-body strength as a result. Although he does well in this regard, he runs the risk of being popped for holding penalties as a result at the next level unless he’s able to flow and work with the momentum of blockers to keep them in his sphere of influence.
Freeland will need to be the utmost technician at the pro level in pass protection; his redirection ability and foot speed inhibit him from mirroring with high levels of competency in space. His wingspan will eat up much of those short-area losses, but he is still going to have to develop proper cadence if going to an offense that charges him with setting vertically for deeper progressions.
Freeland can provide several of the “uncoachable” elements of the position, starting with his size and mass occupied as a blocker on the edge. And with sufficient linear athleticism, he figures to project into a zone-based system that encourages him to take the air out of his blocks quickly, latch, and establish hands. Because of his stature, he’ll certainly occupy a roster spot for years to come. But the question will be if a team can develop him further and provide the environment needed to protect him from his limitations and bottle up his plus qualities to serve as a starter.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- Prototypical size and length
- Effective movement in the run game
- Identifies and passes off stunts in protection effectively
- Shows good hand usage to leverage cut-off blocks
Top Reasons For Concern:
- Footwork in pass sets requires significant improvement
- Illustrates stiffness in hips that limit redirection and fluidity
- High pads will be a staple of his game and limit his ability to leverage defenders
- Unlikely to be a scheme fit for all teams on account of physical profile
Size (NFL Combine):
Height: 6′ 8”
Weight: 302 lbs
Arm Length: 33 7/8”
Hand Size: 10”
Athletic Testing (NFL Combine):
40-yard Dash: 4.98s
Vertical Jump: 37”
Broad Jump: 10′ 0”
Bench Reps: TBD
Ideal Role: Left tackle
Scheme Fit: Wide-zone-heavy scheme
Prospect Comparison: Conor McDermott (2017 NFL Draft)
TDN Consensus Grade: 71.50/100 (Fifth-Round Value)
- Crabbs Grade: 71.50/100
Written By: Kyle Crabbs
Exposures: Baylor (2022), Oregon (2022), Notre Dame (2022), Arkansas (2022)
Blake Freeland NFL Draft Scouting Report. Add him to your big board here.