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Dalton Freeman: 2014 and Beyond

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

"The Jets really like Dalton Freeman's potential."

I can't count how many times over the last two years I have heard somebody say that or some variation. Freeman was an undrafted free agent signed in 2013. He was reportedly impressing somebody before suffering a high ankle sprain in training camp. He was eventually let go but signed to a futures contract. Returning to the Jets in 2014, he served as a backup until Nick Mangold got hurt in the second to last game of the year against New England. Freeman got extensive work in that game and started the finale in Miami.

It is interesting how a second look can sometimes change our perceptions. When I rewatched D'Brickashaw Ferguson's play in 2014 I felt like maybe I had been too hard on him. A second look made me think he was better than I initially thought. With Freeman it was the opposite.

I originally thought Freeman handled things pretty well playing in Mangold's place. I'm not so sure looking back. He allowed a sack, and I saw a second time when a defender went right around him unabated to the quarterback. That isn't good at the center position in limited snaps. Mangold only allowed one sack in fifteen games. Freeman got called for a penalty and I saw him get away with a second hold. I didn't think he was particularly effective as a run blocker. If the Jets liked his potential, I didn't see a lot to justify that in his limited playing time.

We are only talking about 111 snaps. Those do not necessarily make a career. These snaps do give me less of a strong opinion about bringing Freeman to camp in 2015, though. A stronger performance would have made him a must bring. I don't really feel strongly one way or another now. I guess if I had to pick, I'd give him another chance to make good on that potential somebody thinks he has.