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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Freeman believes he's the best QB in draft



Newfreeman The first thing you will notice about Josh Freeman is that he's not lacking for confidence.

Shortly after being drafted 17th overall by the Bucs Saturday, the Kansas State star declared himself the best quarterback of his draft class -- one which included Lions first overall pick Matthew Stafford of Georgia and Southern Cal quarterback Mark Sanchez, who went No. 5 overall to the Jets.

"Obviously, I know me and I feel like I have the best arm of the bunch,'' Freeman said. "I feel like when it comes down to it, the ability to make something happen and extend plays is my X factor. I'm a big guy, a strong guy, extremely hard to sack. And I feel my ability to avoid the sack and make something happen in the end is what I do better.''

So why was Freeman selected so much later than Stafford and Sanchez?

"I think it comes down the school I went to,'' Freeman said. "I mean, I've worked out with both those guys. I think they're really good. I'd take me over them. I think it comes down to they went to Georgia, which is a good, competitive team in the SEC and Mark Sanchez went to USC, who pretty much wins the Pac-10 every year. I think it really came down to them going to better schools and winning more games and stuff like that, that had me going 17th or dropping this low.

"Like I said, they're good quarterbacks. I don't take anything away from them. If I had a pick, I'd take myself.

"I feel I'm the better quarterback but they're getting more of the hype. I have the rest of my career to prove that I'm the best guy and I'm looking to do everything in my power to make that so.''

Freeman said he was uncertain whether he is ready to step in as a rookie and start for the Bucs.

"That's a tough one to answer,'' Freeman said. "I have no idea. I guess we'll find out throughout camp how quickly I get comfortable with the offense and whoever is playing the best I'm sure is going to play. I plan on coming in and competing. I don't believe you play football unless you want to be the starter and that's definitely what I'm working towards. But as far as thinking I'm ready to play right now, I have no idea.''

Freeman said that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco proved a rookie can start his first year and lead a team to the playoffs. But he also said they raised expectations.

"They showed a rookie quarterback can come in and a team can be successful,'' Freeman said. "But they also raised the bar extremely high, those two guys coming in, being the only two first-round guys last year taking their teams to the playoffs is something people are going to expect this class to emulate. We're ready for the challenge.''


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:31pm]


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