Anticipating that Marcus Freeman might enter the draft after his junior season, Bears general manager Jerry Angelo scouted the Ohio State linebacker in 2007 and came away impressed.
“He’s very athletic,” Angelo said. “I was thinking he was going to come out as a junior, and I thought he would have been a second- or third-round pick.”
Freeman stayed in school but battled an ankle injury for much of his senior season, which caused his production to slip. His tackle total dropped from 109 to 84.
“He didn't play as well this year,” Angelo said. “But he went down to the Senior Bowl probably as healthy ads he'd been all year and did a pretty good job there.”
Freeman didn’t enjoy waiting until the fifth round to be drafted, but he’s glad he wound up with the Bears.
“Being a competitor, you're disappointed because you want to go as high as you can,” the 6-foot-1, 239-pound Freeman said during the Bears’ weekend rookie minicamp. “But looking at the situation and being here in Chicago, it couldn't be much better. I'm in a great situation with a 4-3 defense and guys in front of me that are extremely talented. I can learn a lot.”
Even though Freeman’s lack of size probably makes him a better fit at weak-side linebacker, his best chance at playing time this season is on the strong side, where Nick Roach won the starting job from Hunter Hillenmeyer last year but isn’t entrenched as the starter.