|Class:||RS Junior||40 time:||4.60 (proj.)|
Thanks to a bevy of underclassmen that decided to declare early, the wide receiver group in the 2014 NFL Draft class is very possibly the deepest of any position. And while his stock probably won’t be great thanks to concerns about injuries, subpar college production and overall inconsistency, Rutgers’ Brandon Coleman is one of the more intriguing players in this draft.
For starters, Coleman is 6-foot-6, which will make him one of the tallest receivers in the league. To complement his size, he’s got a huge amount of raw athleticism and quickness. If Coleman could put it all together in the receiving game, he could end up being one of the better receivers in the NFL.
Unfortunately, Coleman hasn’t tapped into his potential yet. While he had a fairly productive 2012 season in which he caught 43 passes for 718 yards and 10 touchdowns, he’s never been exceptionally consistent as a pass catcher. He has decent positioning skills, but he still drops passes that he should easily be able to come down with. He doesn’t seem to have the greatest technical skills, as he often relies on his chest to help him bring in balls. In addition, he needs to polish his route running.
Coleman also needs to prove during the build-up to the draft that he is not going to be permanently affected by a seemingly minor knee procedure that he underwent last offseason. His production dipped significantly in 2013, and he was said to be affected by the ailment during the season. Interested teams will undoubtedly be hoping that Coleman’s issues were more of a matter of him being limited during his preseason preparation than they were sustained pain.
In my most recent mock draft, I had Coleman going to the New Orleans Saints with pick 22 of the second round, where he could provide a long-term replacement for a similar player in Robert Meachem. However, with the amount of good receivers who are now draft-eligible, Coleman is going to have to impress just to ensure that he is taken in the draft’s first three rounds.
- Massive; will be one of the biggest wideouts in the NFL
- While his breakaway speed is not elite, he has enough of it that he can combine it with his physicality and long stride to get yards after the catch
- Legitimate deep threat; great perception on long passes allows him to be in the right spot to make the catch
- Strong and resilient in the end zone
- Long, smooth stride
- Surprisingly elusive for a player of his size
- Hands are inconsistent
- Catching skills still need a lot of work, catches too many balls close to his chest
- Not a great route runner
- Concerns about lasting effects from his 2013 offseason knee surgery
While he had some good performances, Coleman’s junior season was the least productive of his college career. He caught 34 balls for a career-low 538 yards and four touchdowns. His best performance was in the Scarlet Knights’ season opener at Fresno State, where he had nine receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns. He also played well in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against Notre Dame, where he had a 51-yard catch and a 14-yard touchdown reception.
2014 Draft Projection: Third Round