Rookie Outlook- Browns WR Corey Coleman

With the 15th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns drafted Baylor WR Corey Coleman. Of Cleveland’s many needs entering the draft, wide receiver may have been the most important. The Browns are known best their long history of failed quarterbacks (20 entering 2016), but a lot of these signal-callers never had good receivers to help them. In 2012, it seemed Josh Gordon was going to be the future for Cleveland. Several positive drug tests and suspensions later, Josh Gordon has been deemed a bust. WR Travis Benjamin was drafted the same year as Gordon and was slowly developing into a real No.1 receiver. However, as soon as Benjamin started to play better, he left town for San Diego. Enter Corey Coleman, who was the first receiver taken in the draft although most experts had him as the third, fourth, or even fifth best wide receiver prospect. However, he is still a first round-rated pick and will be the instant No.1 for the Browns. His only issue is that he has a limited route tree from playing for Baylor. The Browns have Robert Griffin lll, Josh McCown, and Cody Keesler and all three of them can help widen his range on the field. He can also help in the backfield, with the option, as a returner and can be a deep threat.

In college, Coleman started 10 games in his freshman year in 2013. He finished the year with 35 catches for 527 yards and two touchdowns. He missed the first three games of his sophomore season due to a hamstring injury, but came back swinging with a 12 reception for 154 yards and one touchdown performance. In ten games, he doubled his statistics from the year before: 64 catches for 1119 yards and 11 touchdowns. In his second game of his junior season, Coleman set a school record with 4 touchdowns in a single game. He again improved his game: 74 catches, 1363 yards (18.4 yards/catch) and 20 touchdowns. He received the Fred Biletnikoff Award for being the nation’s best receiver, but a sports hernia surgery kept him out of the Russell Athletic Bowl.

Since the Browns have a depleted roster and few superstars, they have an issue scoring. Luckily, Coleman scored on 27% of his catches last season. No matter who is named the starting quarterback, at least they have someone they can throw to worry-free. He has no prior off-the-field issues and has healed nicely from his college injuries.

Strengths-

-Speed- 4.37s 40 yard dash, quick off the snap, excellent footwork

-Attracts double-teams and can still come away with the ball

-Fights for the ball

-Works back to the ball

-Can make a very aerobatic catch with jumping abilities and flexibility

-End zone threat

-Easy route adjustments

-Can make tacklers miss

-Experience as a returner and in backfield

-Can be a workhorse

-Great creativity on the field

Weaknesses-

-Lacks size to play outside in the NFL well (5’11’’, 194 lbs)

-Takes too long to gear down speed

-Limited route tree

-Has hand concerns at times

-Loses focus across the middle/ when defenders are near

NFL Comparison- TY Hilton

2016 predictions- Coleman will be the unanimous starter, but will have no help around him since Brian Hartline was released. No matter who is throwing to him, Coleman will still make big plays for the Browns. He will see time as a returner, receiver, and running back. His route tree will grow and help him improve his performance. He will be one of the top rookie receivers by the end of the season. Will lead the team in catches, yards, and touchdowns.

Long-term predictions- Coleman will be the lead receiver for his time in Cleveland, but if the Browns do not give him more help, he will be constantly double-teamed and his production will drop. He will look for a new home if the Browns don’t upgrade the offense. No matter where he plays, he will make at least 2 Pro Bowls and will break team records for the Browns within the next four years.

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