Michael Jordan, Randy Orton, Alshon Jeffery, Ryan Reynolds and Brandon Coleman: what do these five people have in common? The answer is that I would probably be more excited than I should be if I ever met any of them.
My fellow writer Adam Pfeifer recently mentioned his man crush on Bishop Sankey, who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans. Well, I agree on Sankey, but I am just as excited about Coleman as he is about Sankey. Wait, who’s Brandon Coleman again?
Coleman played WR at Rutgers University, reeling in 43 receptions for 718 yards and 10 TDs during his sophomore year. Unfortunately, he had a disappointing junior year after tearing a meniscus in his right knee last spring, which is the main reason he went undrafted.
Fortunately for Coleman, the New Orleans Saints signed him as a free agent immediately following the 2014 NFL Draft. Now he has the opportunity to play with Drew Brees and one of the best offenses in the league. A lot of people are excited about Brandin Cooks, another exciting WR that the Saints traded up to draft in the first round.
I understand and agree as Cooks has blazing speed, running the second-fastest 40-yard dash in the combine after Dri Archer. However, I think that Coleman has the higher ceiling in terms of fantasy potential. Take a look at the table below of Saints receivers’ physical stats and tell me what you notice.
I don’t know about you, but two things stick out to me. First, the Saints like to give Brees tall receiving weapons. Cooks is the only receiver on that list who is shorter than six feet tall. And second, Coleman is almost as tall and just as fast as Jimmy Graham.
The only big difference is that Coleman is about forty pounds lighter than Graham. You know who else is one inch shorter than Coleman and about the same weight? Mike Evans and Kelvin Benjamin. If Coleman can gain a few pounds and maintain his speed, I don’t see why he can’t be every bit the superstar in the making as those two highly-touted rookie WRs.
As for usage, though Kenny Stills and Brandin Cooks are much faster, they will be utilized very differently than Coleman would be on the field. Even if both speedsters see more snaps alongside Marques Colston this year, the Saints can still bring in Coleman when they reach the red zone. With Graham and Coleman towering on the field together, defenses would face a matchup nightmare whenever the Saints get close to the end zone.
Coleman could be a prime target for Brees, as he is fast for his size and has decent hands. Looking at his college plays, he can be inconsistent at times catching the ball, but that’s something that can be coached. His combine run also suggests that his knee is mostly healthy, so injury is only a slight concern. Coleman really only has two areas in which he needs to develop; he needs to bulk up a bit to better fight off defenders for contested balls, and he needs to develop more consistency in his catching skills overall.
For the most part, Coleman is a WR to target in dynasty and deeper leagues in 2014, as he may need a year or two to develop. However, the optimist in me thinks that he could possibly see five or six TDs this year if the Saints can develop him quickly. Jimmy Graham’s days of getting double covered may be over sooner than you think.