DLF’s own Benton McDonald did a great job previewing Coleman in our 20/20 series, but now let’s take a bit of a closer look at him for the Rookie Profile series where we will be rolling out more in depth looks at 50 prospects leadings up to the NFL draft.
Everyone loves big receivers, especially ones that are freakish combination of size and speed. Those kinds of wide receivers will always be in vogue with both NFL teams and fantasy owners, but in today’s NFL there is plenty of room for smaller receivers to do major damage against opposing defenses. Just ask guys like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Brandin Cooks, and TY Hilton. The 2015 Biletnikoff winning Corey Coleman could very well be the next “small” receiver to join that axis of NFL wide receivers.
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In the NFL draft next month, Coleman will likely be drafted behind the bigger wide receivers like Laquon Treadwell and Josh Doctson, but once you get past those guys then Coleman should certainly be a strong consideration for any team who needs a potential number one receiver. Rotoworld’s Josh Norris believes him to be the best prospect at the position in this 2016 wide receiver class. I’m not ready to put him over either Doctson or Treadwell myself just yet, but it could change depending on the trios’ landing spots.
When I put on Coleman’s 2015 tape I see blazing speed and the ability to get to top speed in a hurry. He shows great explosion off the line and shows that he can quickly get over the top of cornerbacks, almost always demanding the attention of safeties once he gets there.. His route tree seems limited but to me it is a product of the Baylor system and he just wasn’t asked to do more. I generally prefer smaller receivers to be a bit more polished in that regard but his athleticism and competitive nature at the catch point is enough for me to take the leap that he will get there under the right NFL coaching staff. The same goes for concerns about his desire to to block or give 100% on routes where he isn’t getting thrown to. It was definitely an issue for me before I realized the Baylor coaches specifically instruct their receivers to save their legs on plays they are not involved in. His drop rate (11.9%) may be concerning to NFL general managers. Most of them seemed to come on routes across the middle of the field when defenders were closing in for a big hit. Most of his production came on the outside but there will be concerns he lacks the size to succeed there in the NFL.
Let’s take a look at some of his measurables in a spider graph provided by Mock Draftable which compares him to other 2016 combine participants.
Unfortunately Coleman did not run the 40 or the three-cone at the combine, but he did participate in the broad jump and the vertical jump, two of the best drills which test how explosive a player is and in my opinion, what kind of athlete they are. As we can see from the spider graph, Coleman finished in the 91st and 93rd percentiles respectively. What do those numbers mean? Well, 35-40 inches in the vertical and 120 inches in the broad jump are generally considered to be in the range of “elite”. Coleman passes the elite bar in both of those tests. We will have to wait for the Baylor pro day to get his 40 and three-cone times to give us a more complete picture of Coleman’s athleticism, but for now, things look good for the prospect from that standpoint and it shows up on tape.
The concerning measurables for Coleman for me are his arm length and hand size, both of which could affect his ability to make contested catches in the NFL. Short arms (eighth percentile) means a smaller catch radius which means his quarterback needs to be more accurate when throwing him the ball. At just nine inches (16th percentile), his hand size is right on the edge of being considered too small. For comparison’s sake, Odell Beckham’s hands are a full inch larger at a similar height and weight.
Another great resource is PlayerProfiler.com. Let’s take a look at Corey Coleman through that lens.
Their dominator rating reflects the percentage of the player’s total team yardage and touchdowns. Coleman hit the 87th percentile there and the 88th percentile in terms of his yards per reception during his final season. Both of these, combined with his breakout age, can be good indicators of future success. The profiler is missing some key stats that will be filled in during the pro day process, but the biggest question with Coleman in my mind is if his athleticism and competitiveness are enough to overcome the shortcomings of his size.
You’ll notice he currently has no “best comparable”. While it’s likely due to the missing data, I’d say it’s also pretty accurate. In my opinion, there is currently no NFL player who provides a direct comparable. Steve Smith has been thrown out there by numerous analysts and I understand it, but it’s not perfect. While the size and competitiveness at the catch point are similar, he does not have near the level of “my ball mentality” Smith has shown throughout his career. He has also been compared to DeSean Jackson due to his speed and ability to take the top off the defense, but Coleman has 20 pounds on Jackson and is a much tougher player.
Don’t take my word for it though. Pull up his game against West Virginia on Draft Breakdown and see for yourself what he has to offer. This game in particular, I feel, gives a comprehensive look at both his positive and negative attributes.
Early on you will see his speed and ability to gain separation deep. At 1:37 into the clip you can see his physicality at the line of scrimmage in the redzone. At 4:15 you’ll see ability to create space and separation on his own. At 4:59 Coleman shows amazing stop/start ability as he makes the catch, stops on a dime, and gets back to top speed in a hurry on his way to a touchdown. At 5:25 you’ll see one of those concentration drops as the defender closes in. Again at 5:45 you’ll see the kind of athleticism and short area quicks that breaks defensive backs’ ankles and makes coaches’ jaws drop as he turns a routine seven yard reception into a 30 yard gain.
While there isn’t much Corey Coleman can do at this point that would put him ahead of Laquon Treadwell or Josh Doctson in the minds of NFL player personnel types, he should be at the forefront after those two are off the board. From an athleticism standpoint, Coleman has no equals in this wide receiver class. If there is one receiver from this class who has the upside to be a top five kind of dynasty asset if they hit their ceiling, that player would be Corey Coleman. He has the ability to win in the “small” game (speed, quickness, agility, route running) and the “big” game (strength, high-pointing passes, competitiveness at the catch point). Despite the shortcomings he has in terms of size and especially arm length, Coleman should be a first round pick in the NFL draft. One place I would love to see him land would be the Cincinnati Bengals who all of a sudden have a huge hole to fill across from AJ Green after the departure of both Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu in free agency. It’s plausible he could still be around for them at the 24th overall selection in the first round.
In dynasty rookie drafts you will almost certainly have to spend a top five pick to acquire Corey Coleman. In ten rookie mocks at DLF during the month of March he has an ADP of 5.5, just ahead of Derrick Henry.
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