Jerrell Freeman is One of PFF’s Top 10 Breakout Players for 2015


Indianapolis Colts inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman was recently named one of the increasingly popular advanced statistic web site ProFootballFocus’s Top 10 Breakout Players:

"8. Jerrell Freeman, ILB, Indianapolis Colts2014 grade: -9.2 in 981 snaps2015 grade: +14.3 in 571 snapsFreeman has showed flashes of potential in the past, but never form like this. In the past five games, he has a +19.6 grade against good offenses, including New Orleans and Carolina. He’s moved up to fourth overall amongst inside linebackers as a result. Freeman is second in run defense, a spot he also holds in run stop percentage (27 stops in 206 snaps). Perhaps most pleasing for Colts’ fans, he’s missed just four tackles from 63 attempts, compared with 16 from 108 in 2014. Freeman could stand to improve in coverage, where he’s allowing a QB rating of 112.2, including three touchdowns, but he still has a positive grade in that facet of play (+0.2). If Freeman can sustain this level of play, he could help Indianapolis limp into the playoffs."

Having always been highly regarded for his coverage ability, it’s actually been Freeman’s run defense that has been his calling card this season.

Nov 22, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman (50) celebrates after recovering a fumble in the third quarter of their game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. The Colts won 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

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Per ProFootballFocus (subscription), Freeman is tied for the 2nd best run-stopping grade among all inside linebackers with a +12.0 run stop grade. That’s catapulted him to a +14.3 grade overall among inside linebackers, which is the 4th best at his position in the entire league.

The 4th-year veteran and former CFL standout is in the last year of his contract with the Colts, where he has a base salary of $2.356M this season. With his breakout performance this year, he could be in-line for a significant pay increase come this upcoming offseason.

On the season, Freeman is 2nd on the team in total tackles with 82 tackles, while also adding one sack in 10 starts. He missed two starts earlier this season because of a hamstring injury.

The 29 year old has been a pleasant surprise and a hidden gem for the Colts defense in recent seasons at starting inside linebacker. Right now, he’s played his way to a more lucrative multi-year contract and should be a defensive player that the Colts would likely like to lock up for the foreseeable future.