The NFL Draft is here, and while quarterbacks are the hottest ticket in town, they must have someone to throw to. Rookie wide receivers don’t always make big impacts, but they’re important building blocks for any passing attack. Joseph Ferraiola breaks down former Baylor Bear Corey Coleman.
At 5’11” and weighing 194 pounds, Corey Coleman is one of college football’s most electrifying receivers. He is an aggressive and explosive playmaker that totaled 173 receptions, 3,009 yards, and 33 touchdowns in his three seasons at Baylor. In 2015, the redshirt junior arguably had the most productive season for a wide receiver in college football. He caught 74 passes for 1,363 yards and 20 touchdowns which was enough to allow him to win the Biletnikoff Award, the honor for the nation’s top wide receiver.
Art Briles utilized Coleman’s athletic ability in a variety of ways while at Baylor where he lined up both on the outside and in the slot as a receiver. He was also given opportunities at running back and he returned punts on occasion.
Coleman had sports-hernia surgery in December which kept him from participating in the Russell Athletic Bowl against North Carolina.
Tale of the Tape
|Pro Day & NFL Combine Results Results|
|40 Yard Dash||Bench Reps*||Vertical Leap*||Broad Jump*|
*top scores among WR
** 40 Yard Dash time from Coleman’s Pro Day.
Against off coverage Coleman is explosive off the snap and can quickly accelerate while eating up cushion. Against press coverage Coleman uses a variety of techniques to beat the create space and get into his route. He uses his quickness to make defenders miss their jam and also possesses the physicality to work defenders with his hands. Based on film, I believe that he can only do this against smaller corners and won’t be able to out-physical larger corners who play press man on the outside.
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On this play against Texas Tech from this season, Coleman faces the press in the slot. The defender tries to jam Coleman with his hands, but the wide receiver is able to use his hands to knock the corner’s arms off him and gain a step of separation into his go route. Not being able to press when playing up on Coleman is a problem for opposing corners as all but the fastest will CBs have trouble recovering ground they have surrendered. The end result of this play is a big gain for Coleman and the Bears.
Most defensive backs respect Coleman’s speed and played off while at Baylor. This allowed him to have a significant amount of separation on slants and hitches. He displays patience in not tipping his route before he makes his break.
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This play has Baylor in a 4th and 3 situation with the Bears going for it while up 10 points in Mountaineer territory with 9:54 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Coleman is lined up on the bottom of the screen facing a corner playing way off for the situation. As the ball is snapped Coleman runs vertical in an attempt to make his defender think “deep route.” However, Coleman understands the distance needed for the first down and breaks for the quick slant. Seth Russell delivers a nice throw to Coleman who makes the catch for the first down, plants his foot, makes the defender miss, and breaks for the easy touchdown.
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Coleman’s most effective way of creating separation is his explosiveness and speed which he uses to challenge corners vertically like he does against Oklahoma in his sophomore season. If this ball wasn’t under thrown Coleman likely scores a touchdown.
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Coleman possesses good hands as he’s able to adjust to both high and low throws. On this play against West Virginia, Russell throws a ball high and Coleman is able to adjust and bring it down for the completion.
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On this play against Kansas State Coleman displays the ability to track the deep ball into his hands and then bursts past the pursuing defenders for the touchdown.
Yards After Catch
There are a variety of ways Coleman creates yards after the catch. He is both elusive and physical when attacking up field. He can burst past a defender, make a man miss, or scrap his way en route to a big gain.
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On this play Coleman makes a catch and turns up field. He makes one defender miss low at his ankles and he completely avoids another while positioning himself to turn up field for a nice gain. This is one of the most athletic plays I’ve seen while evaluating wide receivers in preparation for the 2016 draft.
Coleman isn’t a willing blocker as he sometimes takes plays off, especially run plays. It is difficult to tell if he truly doesn’t want to run block or if it’s due to Baylor’s high-paced offense and his possible need for a breather. Whatever the reason is, the effort from Coleman while blocking is minimal.
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On this play Coleman is lined up at the bottom of the screen. The ball is snapped and Coleman doesn’t try to block the corner. He passes him off and the man he was responsible for makes a play on the running back at the line of scrimmage.
Coleman should be drafted in the early to middle part of the second round. Although he may hear his name called on day one when the string of teams like the Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, and Cincinnati Bengals are on the clock. It’s widely talked about that Baylor hasn’t produced successful NFL wide receivers in Art Briles’s offense. While his gaudy numbers could be attributed to the offense he played in, I believe the traits are there for him to have a successful NFL career.
He best fits in an offense that lines him up as a slot receiver that can occasionally play on the outside. He will challenge defenses vertically with his speed and can also be dangerous with the ball in his hands in space. Until he refines his blocking technique teams won’t want to run to his side of the field. Coleman is an athletic, explosive, tough, and scrappy wide receiver that should be able to find his niche in the NFL.
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