2013 Stats: 33 Receptions, 484 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
Size: In transitioning players from college to the NFL, a lot of areas can be coached up. One thing that simply can’t be taught is size. Coleman is a huge target at 6’6” and 220 lbs, and makes a fantastic target for any quarterback. His potential as a red zone threat is enough to make him a relevant NFL prospect, and he is an automatic mismatch with whoever opponents try to cover him with. He also uses his body effectively in shielding defenders in order to make catches, particularly ones in the endzone.
In Traffic: Coleman has some consistency issues with his hands, an area to be addressed later, but he does show an innate ability to make tough catches in traffic. He’s big enough to get balls thrown high, but strong enough to snatch balls away from defenders who thought they had a play to make. This was more prevalent in 2012 when he was healthy and consistently making big plays.
Hands: With a plethora of big plays under his belt, it would seem contrary to question Coleman’s hands, but he has a tendency to make the highlight reel catch, but drop the easy ones. This likely points to a problem with concentration, something that can be improved on with some work.
Consistency: After 2012, Coleman seemed primed to blow up in 2013. Whether or not an offseason surgery has affected him is debatable, but this season has been a disappointment either way. After opening the season with a 100-yard, two touchdown performance against Fresno State to start the year, he has failed to impress. His highest output since that game was 77 yards against Cincinnati. That was also the only other game this season in which he scored.
Speed: Going back to 2012, Coleman had some functional speed, showing enough to get open, especially going across the field rather than down it. He also displayed just enough speed to get into the endzone if he got past a defender. Where he struggles is in beating his man, especially on longer routes. He can’t outrun most defenders, and therefore faces more difficult catches. Every ball is contested because he lacks the top-end speed to get open down the field.
Injury: Coleman had a procedure done on his knee in this past offseason that caused him to miss some practice time. This may have contributed somewhat to his lack of production this season. He’ll need to prove to NFL teams that he is fully recovered.
NFL Player Comparison
Malcolm Floyd: Coming into the league, Floyd had great size and an ability to make plays, but he was considered raw and inconsistent. That sounds very familiar. Like Floyd, Coleman is huge, and can make seemingly supernatural plays, but is inconsistent. Floyd has developed into a very good NFL receiver, and if Coleman can improve some of the rougher parts of his game, he can blossom into a quality receiver that any team would be thrilled to have.
Coleman will be in a draft class flush with talented receivers. His size and potential alone will keep him from falling too far, no matter how inconsistent his 2013 season has been. NFL teams can go back to his 2012 tape and see what he can do when he’s at his best. He likely will fall somewhere between the late second round to the middle of the third round.
With his size and ability in the red zone, Coleman fits in any number of systems. The Chicago Bears have shown what a team can do with two big receivers, and in a copycat league like the NFL, it’s almost certain that more teams will look to follow suit. A team like the Cincinnati Bengals, or Detroit Lions, who have an established number one receiver, may look to add a big target to take pressure off of their stars.