Editor’s note: This is the third of five Q&As with current Falcons players, detailing their journey through the draft process.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Devonta Freeman was one of the top running backs in college football during his final season at Florida State, and he was viewed among the best prospects at that position entering the 2014 NFL Draft.
Some projected Freeman to be drafted as high as the second round, yet he watched as rounds two and three rolled by and did not hear his name. It wasn’t until the third pick in the fourth round that Freeman began his Pro Bowl career with the Falcons.
With the NFL Draft just around the corner, we asked Freeman about his own path to Atlanta.
Question: What do you remember most about your draft journey?
Freeman: Just looking at other competition. Knowing that guys who were rawer (than me) going before me and just looking at my name getting passed by. Going down every single day. It kind of left that salty feeling in my mouth, it gave me a chip on my shoulder. And then when I got drafted, it was the most refreshing feeling ever. Having the opportunity to hear my name called in the fourth round by the Atlanta Falcons was a blessing.
Q: If you could give yourself any advice as a draft prospect what would that be?
Freeman: I think I handled it really, really well. I had expectations, but I didn’t have expectations because I knew I wasn’t really in control of the situation. And when you aren’t in control of the situation the obvious thing to do is just be patient and let everything play out the way it’s supposed to.
Q: Was there anybody who was influential to you throughout the draft process?
Freeman: It might be hard to say a few names, because I don’t want to leave anyone out. But a lot of people had an impact in my life and kind of helped me out along the way.
Q: What is your memory of the whole draft process?
Freeman: Getting drafted. Getting my name called and coming here the next day. Being with family, there were some family who were around, and just being able to share that moment and experience with them. That was the coolest thing to me.
Q: What was it like growing up in the football atmosphere of Miami?
Freeman: I was already driven. Growing up in Miami, you’ve got to have that competitive nature about you.