Start a franchise with Josh Freeman?

May, 16, 2011
5/16/11
1:40
PM ET
Scouts Inc.’s Matt Williamson is one of the people I rely on most when it comes to personnel evaluation.

Williamson has front-office and scouting experience in the league and his opinions are valuable tools to the writers on the ESPN.com blog network. I didn’t have to call Williamson for this nugget because it appeared on his Twitter account.

When asked to list five young quarterbacks he would start a team with, the first two guys Williamson mentioned were Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. He followed them with Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford and Joe Flacco.

No argument here. I don’t think you could go wrong with Freeman or Ryan. Freeman’s only had one full season as a starter, but it was a very good one and his upside is tremendous. Ryan’s led the Falcons to three consecutive winning seasons since he’s entered the league.

The one knock on Ryan is that he hasn’t won a playoff game, but I think the Falcons are working hard to do everything they can to change that. That drafting of receiver Julio Jones should help. But I also think coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey need to tweak their offensive philosophy just a bit.

With Michael Turner, the running game always is going to be important. That’s fine. But I don’t think the Falcons have truly freed Ryan up to put him in positions where he can make more big plays. I think the minds in Flowery Branch, Ga., have realized that this offseason and I think you’ll see Ryan have some limitations taken off him next season.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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