A standout sprinter and jumper in track as well as a four-star football
recruit, Coleman redshirted in 2012 and missed the first three games
of his redshirt freshman campaign due to a hamstring injury. He
would eventually settle for a final line of 35-527-2 that season
as Antwan Goodley established himself as the top option for quarterback
Bryce Petty. Goodley and Coleman each were sidelined with injuries
for the first three games of the following season, but when the
duo returned for the start of Big 12 play in 2014, it was Coleman's
time to shine. Beginning with that contest, Coleman scored at least
one receiving touchdown in 17 of the next 18 games - and a total
of 31 over that span - while also emerging as the Bears' big-play
threat. His final numbers as a sophomore - 64 catches, 1,119 yards
and 11 scores - made him a first-team All-Big 12 squad selection
and an honorable mention All-American in at least one publication.
Coleman became the first player in school history to post two
1,000-yard receiving seasons and basically made a mockery of defenses
during his final season on campus in 2015, lighting up opponents
for a FBS-best 20 touchdowns through the team's first eight games
before going scoreless over the next four (after the Bears were
riddled with injuries at quarterback) and sitting out the Bears'
win at the Russell Athletic Bowl due to hernia surgery. Despite
his unspectacular ending, Coleman did all right for himself on
the awards circuit at the end of 2015, becoming a unanimous All-American
and capturing the Biletnikoff Award.
Best Scheme Fit: Vertical passing
game or spread offense. Perhaps he could be used as a gadget player/deep
threat/return man right away as he sharpens his route-running
chops before transitioning into a high-end second receiver. Could
become a dynamic option in the slot if/when he becomes a solid
Explosive athlete who hits top speed in the blink of an eye;
eats up defensive back's cushion quickly.
Lightning-quick first step and creates almost immediate separation.
Extremely elusive in the backfield and on quick-hitters and
has a nose for the end zone; slips the first tackle consistently
on the rare occasion he is contacted at the line of scrimmage
or the backfield.
Tracks ball well over his shoulder and displays very good
body control in the air; shows no fear and is the rare sub-6'
receiver that can win more than his fair share of 50-50 throws.
Targeted nearly 40 percent of the time in up-tempo offense
and was often defense's top priority (especially near the goal
line), yet defenses struggled to stop him.
Although he did very little of it after his freshman year,
he has return experience and could easily be one of the more
dynamic return men in the NFL.
Ran a limited route tree in college - primarily utilized on
9-routes, hitches, slants and tunnel screens - and will probably
require much development time in this area.
Too many focus drops, especially over the middle of the defense;
career drop percentage of 6.6.
Often makes the difficult catch look easy, but will sometimes
make the routine catch look difficult.
Runs a bit too high, making him a more likely target for press
coverage (and injury) in the NFL.
Willing to block for teammate after the catch but rarely did
so in the run game - almost to the point where it appeared he
was instructed to stay out of the way.
Baylor sometimes utilized Coleman in a Harvin or Tavon-Austin-like
fashion, sometimes using him out of the backfield or a fly sweep
- especially last season (22 carries). Before you jump to the
conclusion he is merely a gadget player, let me stop those thoughts
immediately; he should become more than that. Even in a conference
that has become known for high-flying passing attacks and shootouts
(and thus, mediocre defenses), Coleman toyed with Big 12 teams
in 2015, or at least until the point Baylor was forced to go to
their third-string quarterback at the tail end of the season and
rely more heavily on the run game. Coleman's 20-touchdown catch
campaign is made all the remarkable by the fact he didn't score
in any of the Bears' final five games.
Evaluators will have to decide on whether Coleman's ability to
stretch a defense and his ability to make defenders miss outweighs
the learning curve he faces to learn a NFL route tree and the
occasional drop. While no one likes to see a receiver drop the
ball on any play, we can't always reach the conclusion that he
has "bad hands". (Perhaps the combination of Baylor's
up-tempo offense and receiving 39 percent of the targets in the
passing game can wear a guy out?) Big-play ability is hard to
find and Coleman has it. There's a reason four teams were willing
to give Harvin a shot despite his injury history and reputation
as a locker-room cancer; Coleman is the same kind of player without
those notable "flaws" (even though he has a tendency
to run his mouth a bit much after scoring). The ceiling here is
higher than any other receiver in the first round, so the combination
of a creative play-caller and capable quarterback could have this
guy in the Pro Bowl in no more than 3-4 years, while a club looking
for him to be a No. 1 option within the first year or two could
be disappointed. If Coleman is willing to embrace his Napoleon
complex each and every week like Steve Smith has, he could enjoy
that kind of career. If all he does is improve slightly over the
course of his NFL career, he should a fine second receiver that
will have no problem stretching the field and making defenses
pay for showing too much respect to the top option.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.