Brandon Coleman: future NFL star, should be a Seahawks target

October 15th, 2012 | Written by Rob Staton

The NFL's next great receiver?

I can’t remember the last Rutgers game I had access to, but I think Tom Savage was the quarterback. He’s since transferred twice, from Rutgers to Arizona to Pittsburgh. Either way its been a while. This weekend I read Tony Pauline’s latest piece for SI.com where he singles out CFB’s week seven ‘risers and sliders’. Rutgers wide receiver Brandon Coleman was listed among the ‘risers':

“Coleman is in the midst of a breakout season and the big-play threat is making scouts take notice of his talents. He’s a big bodied wide out (6-foot-5, 215 pounds) who is becoming more consistent. Coleman turned in his most productive game of the year during the victory over Syracuse, with six catches for 104 yards (17.3 average). In six games this season Coleman has averaged 15.4 yards on 18 receptions, five of which resulted in scores. He possesses the physical skills to line up as a No. 1 wide out in the NFL and his game comes with great upside potential.”

I’d not come across Coleman before – a redshirt sophomore listed at 6-5 by Pauline but also touted at 6-6 and 220lbs by ESPN. There’s a lot of depth in the receiver class for 2013, but no stand-out player you feel like you just have to have. Coleman could fill that hole. JMPasq has supplied some tape (see below) and it’s obvious there’s a lot to like about this guy, he has tremendous upside. Of course, he may not declare for next years draft as a second year starter. It’s hard to turn down the chance to be a top-15 pick, though. If he gets that kind of reassurance from the draft committee in the new year, he may be tempted to turn pro.

Coleman had a bit of a slow start to the season, one of the reasons he’s probably still floating under the radar. Against Tulane, Howard and South Florida he registered just six catches for 118 yards – although he did score three touchdowns. In his next three games – against Arkansas, Connecticut and Syracuse – he has 18 catches for 264 yards and a further two touchdowns. It’s not the kind of prolific stat-line that tempted other redshirt sophomore’s to declare (eg, Michael Crabtree, Earl Thomas) but Coleman’s strength is not in statistics – it’s in physical upside and limitless potential.

You’re unlikely to find another 6-6 receiver that can run as well as this. Usually receivers this tall are thick set or skinny, there’s rarely an in-between. Coleman has the ideal frame in that he’s well proportioned and not heavy or skinny, allowing him to remain agile in breaks/routes or when running in the open-field. He’s a match-up terror against pretty much any cornerback due to his height and reach, but he can also get downfield and create separation. Most big wide-outs get tagged as possession receivers, but Coleman averaged 33 yards per reception (!!!) last season and is working at 16 yards per catch this year.

If you want a good example of just how athletic this guy is, check the touchdown reception at 0:42 in the Arkansas video. It’s a simple receiver screen to the right and he simply runs past the cornerback and away from the defense for a big touchdown. Check the same video at 1:42 and you’ll find a touchdown against Iowa State where he exploits his height and reach in single coverage to grab a deep ball and sprint into the end zone for near enough a 90 yard score. If dominating single coverage isn’t good enough for you, go to 0:37 against Connecticut and check out the big play made in tight double coverage.

Still not convinced? Fast forward to 1:53 in the UConn tape and watch him take a 93 yard catch and run to the house. He finds space at the second level, runs through three defensive backs and out-sprints all of them for a touchdown. Watch it again. And again.

Apart from the obvious physical advantages, the thing I really like about this guy is he’s a natural hands catcher. Nothing is coming into his chest, he’s reaching out and plucking the ball from the air. There are a couple of muffed catches in the videos below and certainly he can work on his concentration in certain situations to make sure he completes the reception, but overall he flashes the ability to use soft hands or snare a fast ball. Check 1:16 against UConn to see evidence of strong mitts to grab a difficult catch under pressure.

He runs inside, he can go deep, he can be an effective red zone target. He gets open, he can play physical when required and he’s got enough deep speed to make big plays down the field. This is the most exciting NFL Draft prospect I’ve seen since scouting Jarvis Jones last year. This is the kind of prospect where you start to consider an Atlanta Falcons-Julio Jones type move up the board. If he declares for 2013 – and that’s a big if – this is the kind of player the Seahawks need to be aggressive in targeting. You can teach him to be an effective blocker at that size, but you also provide Russell Wilson with a big-time weapon and playmaker on the outside. He has Calvin Johnson-like potential – seriously – because he has such a incredible combination of size/speed.

Brandon Coleman could be the most exciting offensive player in college football. He could be a future NFL star. And if he declares for 2013, the Seahawks should be ready to make their move. This guy is unreal.

32 Responses to “Brandon Coleman: future NFL star, should be a Seahawks target”

  1. maki says:

    wow . . . just wow.

  2. Stuart says:

    With the fact he is a redshirt soph, he could very well slide more than he should. Supposse our Hawks are drafting somewhere in the 20’s, what draft capitol would it take to move up and grab THIS GUY? For the sake of our argument, let’s say he still available at #11. What about this years #1, next years #1 and this years 4th rounder, is that too much? Not enough? You had me at MEGATRON II!

    I AM IN HAWK HEAVEN TODAY:).

  3. andymuhs says:

    I’m salitvating… him a 1, sidney a 2 with dougie b in the slot keep miller and go get a consistent pass catching Jimmy Graham like reciever to replace Mccoy… yes please

  4. Alex says:

    If he’s the next Megatron, you do whatever you can to get him. I don’t care if he’s a RS Soph. We took Earl Thomas as a RS Soph.

  5. Barry says:

    If he decided to come out and continues to make big plays and show dominance as well as tests like Rob suspects he will the Hawks would have to make a Atlanta type of trade up to get him. WR’s are over valued in my opinion I love them but guys like Fitz and Megatron are rare because the have the physical skills but its the mental side that separates them.

  6. Darik says:

    One thing I didn’t see mentioned is the way he gets off of press coverage. Watch 2:41 in the Syracuse video and they try to jam him on 4th down and he gets such a clean release that it doesn’t even affect his route at all and he goes up in double coverage to make the clutch catch.

  7. Mtjhoyas says:

    Oh my goodness…sign me up.

    That looks like a prime PC/JS pick. Not a big name, but unreal potential. Bruce Irvin 2.0 in 2013? Just might be.

  8. Cameron says:

    Rob, would Randy Moss be a fair comp? Seems to have that rare combination of size, speed and body control.

    • Rob Staton says:

      In terms of the combination of size, speed and hands – yes, absolutely. He doesn’t look a lot like Moss out on the field, but he shares similar traits.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        This kid has a wicked double move. And you can tell he studies his opponent. He knew that he could terrorize that Arkansas frosh.

  9. Jmpasq says:

    Im glad there is enthusiasm about him . If u follow me on Twitter I talked him up over the summer. The upside here is very high.

  10. Hawksince77 says:

    So this could be the “Julio Jones” kind of opportunity. Cool.

    And assuming that Wilson has the position at QB set for some time, that frees up draft capital to go after a guy like this. Plus, if they get a nice offer for Flynn, something I expect they will seriously consider given the possibility that another team sees Flynn as starting-material, and keeping two starting-quality QBs on the roster simply too expensive from an opportunity cost perspective, that might provide the additional draft capital necessary to pull off whatever move they need to make to get a guy like this.

    It almost doesn’t seem fair…to the rest of the league…

  11. Michael says:

    Rob,

    Is there any chance this guy continues to fly under the radar up until draft day, or will the combine eliminate any possibility of him simply falling to the Seahawks 1st round pick outright? Julio Jones and A.J. green were both at big time SEC schools and looked destined to be top 10 picks since they were freshman, while a guy like Stephen Hill (perhaps partly because he played at Georgia Tech) had a great size/speed combo and he lasted until round 2 and could have been a Seahawk if they had wanted him at 43rd overall…

    What are the differences between Coleman and Hill? Does Coleman have higher upside? More polish? Better hands?

    Thanks

    • Rob Staton says:

      If he performs at the combine as I suspect, then there’s zero chance. Which is a shame. But the Seahawks are ready to make a big move. If Wilson wasn’t the answer, they’d be ready to strike for a QB. It may be that they end up targeting another position, but I think they’ll be ready just like Atlanta were with Julio. The big thing with Julio Jones though – the guy was perfect off the field as well as being a beast. You won’t meat a harder working, more humble wide receiver than Julio Jones. I don’t know enough about Brandon Coleman to say he’s got that similar character and work ethic. One of the reasons Atlanta were prepared to move up was because Jones was as near to a sure thing as a receiver can be because of his attitude.

      • Michael says:

        Any thoughts on what would make this guy worthy of a round 1 trade up while PC/JS didn’t want to spend a mid second rounder on Stephen Hill?

        • Rob Staton says:

          Better player than Stephen Hill, different priorities last year compared to this…

          • Michael says:

            Thanks Rob. I appreciate getting an informed opinion when trying to compare players from different draft classes because they are all so different that comparing draft position from year to year is completely meaningless.

            For example; I don’t think anyone would have been willing to make the “Julio Jones Jump” (counts as a catchy alliteration if you pronounce Julio wrong…) for the inferior Justin Blackmon last year, yet because of the makeup of that draft class he was selected a slot higher than Jones.

            That brings up another question I would be interested to hear your opinion on… If Bruce Irvin had come out a year earlier and somehow the Seahawks had ended up on the clock with their choice of Bruce Irvin or Aldon Smith, who do you think they would have picked? (knowing only what we knew about each player entering their respective drafts) Personally I think the age issue would have made them pass on Irvin in favor of the much younger Smith, but maybe not. What do you think?

            • Rob Staton says:

              Hey Michael,

              I think Pete would’ve still drafted Irvin in that scenario. Let’s not forget, he’s known Bruce for a long time – tried to recruit him at USC, followed his career. Part of the decision to draft Irvin was Carroll’s background with the player and how he fit the scheme as PC often refers to as ‘the ideal LEO’. Smith has proven to be a dynamic pass rusher, but he’s a different player. I’m not convinced Carroll would’ve passed on the player he calls ‘the ideal LEO’ for another pass rusher. I would argue Chandler Jones is physically quite similar to Aldon Smith – and the Seahawks passed on him to take Irvin.

  12. John says:

    This screams Pete Carroll pick. Odd physical gifts and pure upside? Hell yes. I don’t see a big move up the board but I can definitely see us shocking the world and taking him early if he remains under the radar as he has. I doubt it though. Even if the production doesn’t gain some eyes, I guarantee his combine will. And I’ll say I wasn’t totally convinced until the Syracuse tape. He’s got some great hands and that little bit of wiggle is just awesome.

    • I was thinking the same thing- Coleman’s profile screams PC type prospect.

      Should be interesting to see where he ends up. If he does declare, I suspect he wouldn’t go top 10. Underclassman, still a little raw, and he lacks that mental edge and attitude you see in spades with guys like Doug Baldwin or Steve Smith.

      Demaryius Thomas and Stephen Hill are somewhat similar players. Thomas was a late 1st and Hill was a mid 2nd. I think Coleman will go earlier than both, but not by much. If Seattle is picking in the teens, they might be able to get him without a Julio Jones type deal. That said, we are way far away from projecting draft stock accurately, so we’ll see. If Coleman really puts it together the rest of the way then he could go top 5.

      I’m a fan. Coleman seems like a perfect fit for the Seahawks both philosophically and schematically.

      • John says:

        Kip… I gotta ask… how happy were you after the Wilson/Rice game winning TD?

        Was it like… “I called that!” or something? :D

  13. Brandon says:

    I doubt PC/JS will make a Julio move. It just doesn’t feel like them. And you know they’ll be looking at Clemons’/Hill’s age as an excuse to draft another big defensive star in the first.

    We need more than one new offensive toy anyway.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think they would be willing to make a move for the right guy, but obviously that guy would have to be close to a sure thing. Jones was as close as you’d ever get – physically superb, no injury history, amazing character and work ethic, big school and production. Coleman doesn’t necessarily tick all of those same boxes, but he might end up a better football player because of the physical potential. Kip’s argument is tight though – if his stock pans out similar to Demaryius Thomas then such a move wouldn’t be required.

  14. Darnell says:

    This guy wasn’t on my radar. Thanks for brining him up, Rob.

    On the topic of athletic freaks – Marcus Davis from VA Tech. Have you looked into him?

  15. Michael says:

    Here are some randomly constructed thoughts:

    If this guy comes out this year looking like the real deal he is an absolute must for the Seahawks. Not only would that add a much needed playmaker to the passing game, but it might also keep him out of the hands of a division rival… Say one that is also in dire need of a threat on the outside and just so happens to have 3 times as much draft capital as us to do something about it…

    Through six games (against pretty damn good competition) Russell Wilson has outperformed every rookie QB without a Subway commercial gig. I am sold, and getting him some legitimate weapons has to be a priority this off-season.

    It looks like there will be a lot of options considering the depth of this WR class and the number of possible free agent receivers. How much more dangerous would this offense be if one of Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings, Wes Welker or Mike Wallace was added? And if none of them end up here the front office will know what they need to do in the draft.

    Funny question popped into my head during that last paragraph… If the 5’9″ Wes Welker teamed up with the 5’11” Russell Wilson would that be the shortest QB/WR duo in NFL history? Who was the shortest guy Flutie ever teamed with?

  16. Michael says:

    One more quick thought…

    What’s to say they don’t sign one of of the UFA receivers (mentioned above) and draft one? PC/JS have already shown a tendency to zero in on a problem and then attack it on multiple fronts. When the run game needed to be fixed they ended up drafting 2 O-lineman, Signing another and hiring a new coach! When pass rush proved to be a problem, not only did they draft Bruce, but signed Jason Jones and extended Clemons as well.

    If the pass catchers on this team fail to build on the success they had against the Pats, could the front office launch a similar assault to revamp the passing attack?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it will depend on decisions made over Sidney Rice and Zach Miller. Rice is due $9.7m in 2013 while Miller is due $11m. I doubt either sees quite as much salary as that, but if both stick even on reduced terms – it’ll impact how much freedom they have to spend big on another free agent target. If they go big on a free-agent WR or TE, I think they’d have to cut one or both of Rice/Miller.

  17. [...] was a bit of an anti-climax for Brandon Coleman after the big send up on the blog this week. Seattle had scouts at the Rutgers vs Temple game (won by the Knights 35-10) yet Coleman managed [...]

  18. Jeremy says:

    I’m a Rutgers fan, and while I love seeing my guy talked up, I think you may need to tap the brakes a little.

    For starters, he’s not Megatron 2. Calvin has consistently great short area quickness. Coleman doesn’t.

    Secondly, Coleman’s hands are not reliable at this point. While he is a natural hands catcher, you see the ball bounce off too many times. And not so much the tough ones, but groan-worthy, wide open ones. I think they’ll improve, as they have since last season, but they aren’t for top 15 type players.

    Third, he’s lacking on awareness during the scramble drill. Too often he’s frozen during the scramble rather than working to the ball. He also disappears at times, though that might be because of a game plan that gets far too conservative, considering our top 3 receivers are 6-3, 6-6, 6-4, and our TE goes at 6-6.

    I think most of Coleman’s issues are fixed with repetition. This is Coleman’s first year as a starter, last year Sanu and Mark Harrison were the starting wideouts. Which is why I really think he stays- though, if he is projected top 15, you never know. Right now he’s more Stephen Hill than Julio Jones/Plaxico Burress, but he does have great upside with his height and arm length, and RU coaches clocked him at 4.4 in the 40. Definitely a guy who will rise through the draft process. However, I would stop short of saying he deserves a Julio Jones type trade into the top 10 or whatever.