The curious case of Brandon Coleman

October 11th, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

Rugters' Brandon Coleman had a bounce-back game against Louisville

Working out Brandon Coleman might be one of the toughest things we have to do going into the 2014 draft.

We’ve talked a lot about him. He’s 6-5/6-6, 220lbs with speed to burn and physical qualities to die for. Essentially, something the Seahawks currently lack.

Pete Carroll, by his own admission, likes “the big guys”.

Coleman started the season with a sloppy (yet productive) performance against Fresno State. He then dropped off the radar with four lacklustre games where he tallied just six catches for 126 yards.

Last night he was back on form in Rutgers’ most difficult test of the season so far. He was productive against Louisville, making 66 yards on five grabs. He looked smooth, he ran good routes. It’s what we wanted to see all year.

So what is the cause of such inconsistency?

He had knee surgery in the off-season, with some observers claiming he just wasn’t the same player as a consequence. Having watched the Louisville and Fresno games, I didn’t see any hard evidence to argue for or against that. Coleman was never great when it came to short area quickness, but he has unnatural long speed for his size. He managed to get deep and create separation on a play downfield against the Bulldogs, but then dropped an easy catch.

It’d be reassuring to see him take a short pass 80-yards for a score as he’s done in the past. It might settle this particular concern. But ultimately this is a question that’ll be answered in the medical room at the combine. Teams will want to check out the injury report to see what state his knee is in. Staying healthy the rest of year can only help.

Whatever the situation, you want to see players making tangible progress. The mistakes against Fresno were alarming. While we’ve seen this guy make some incredible plays at Rutgers, he’s also good for the occasional mental lapse. Perhaps of more pressing concern is the repeated unwillingness to really high point the football. With his size and frame he should be nearly impossible to cover in jump ball situations. Yet we never really see evidence of that.

It’s kind of ‘meh’ when he should be ‘wow’.

Get your hands up, let your quarterback throw it up there. I’m craving to see it.

Right now there’s very little evidence of technical improvement made from the 2012 season. Again, the surgery possibly prevented him from putting in the time this summer. If that is the case, he has to show gradual improvement during the season. The work has to happen now.

Finally, the quarterback situation at Rutgers has to take some of the blame. The simple fact is, Gary Nova isn’t very good. And while Teddy Bridgewater did enough last night to keep his team ticking along, Nova threw four interceptions.

He’s inaccurate, he struggles under pressure, he hasn’t got a great arm and he’s frustrating to watch.

This doesn’t give Coleman a pass. Nova managed 346 passing yards against Arkansas and 283 against SMU. Of those 629 yards, Coleman had just 81.

He needs to be the #1 target. Simple as that. He’s their best receiver.

There’s quite a lot at play here that could be preventing Coleman from being the consistent target we all want to see. However, the chances are this is going to continue. Nova isn’t going to improve. The knee may or may not be an issue. And it could be argued it’s harder to make technical improvements during the season compared to focused work during camp.

He’ll probably still have two or three big games. And he’ll also have two or three where he barely registers.

This is the interesting angle though — how much are you willing to invest in potential?

The Seahawks have shown they’re willing to take a gamble. I suppose you could call it calculated risk. If the player ticks a lot of boxes but hasn’t quite got the consistent college production you want to see, do you back yourself to get it out of him at the next level? Do you back your coaches to make the required technical adjustments to uncover a gem?

Coleman has everything you want in a big receiver in terms of the physical side of the game. He can be a dynamic red zone threat. It still wouldn’t surprise me — health permitting — if he was a high draft pick.

And potentially a high draft pick for the Seattle Seahawks.

After all, John Schneider was at the Rutgers-Louisville game last night.

19 Responses to “The curious case of Brandon Coleman”

  1. Stuart says:

    When you said, dropped the easy pass, my interest in this guy really fell off. For as little as we pass, I still remember drops last year from Tate and Turbin. Burned in my memory I guess…

    What became of the WR from Rutgers last year and the WSU WR from last year? I can’t remember there names but I do know they went later in the draft and we monitored them. Just wondered if they ever turned out to be something.

    Also with the intrigue with TE Gonzales being the missing piece (some say), this leads me to believe that we need a great TE and should get the best one in the next draft. Who might that be now that Lyera (sp) has proven to be a Titus Young type?

    • Tony Wiltshire says:

      Mark Harrison is currently on the NFI list with the Patriots. He’s set to come off of it next week. He broke his foot after the combine and wasn’t drafted. Marques Wilson is currently on the Bears roster. After flashing in the preseason, he was active this past week versus the Giants….I think so anyway. However, he never got on the field. Emery did mention early last week they were looking to get him involved. Another former Rutgers WR, Tim Wright, is currently seeing a lot of action as the move TE for Tampa Bay.

  2. Colin says:

    The one thing we can’t control -and will never know- is what sort of “connection” Nova and Coleman have. Nova might just be one of those guys who doesn’t have a good feel for Coleman, whereas a better QB might know when to throw some dicey passes his way. I haven’t seen Nova play hardly at all, but it sounds like he is not helping Brandon Coleman at all.

    Remember how Mike Williams looked respectable with Matt Hasselbeck taking his shots carefully? When Tarvaris came in and those iffy throws went away, Williams was just another underachiever.
    Something to keep in mind.

    This might be a gamble the Seahawks need to take.

  3. Bob says:

    “Drops easy pass”, Lasik?

    I really want Wilson to have a big possession WR so I am intrigued by Coleman but sounds like he would have trouble in the pros, never know though, Brandon Marshall was a 3rd round pick I believe and that worked out.

  4. kevin mullen says:

    Brandon Marshall 2.0

  5. CC says:

    Rob, what is your assessment of Keith Price? I realize last year hurt him a lot, but wondering if you think he has any chance to be an NFL QB. Not the tallest, knee problems, good arm – can he be a career back up or what? I realize you may not have done the full analysis, but would appreciate your initial take. Thanks

    • Rob Staton says:

      I thought he played well last week at Stanford — and I do like Keith — but I don’t expect him to get much consideration for starting in the NFL. Can he stick as a backup? It’s possible.

  6. Stuart says:

    Thanks Tony

  7. Ukhawk says:

    What i want to get a fix on is how physical Coleman? What’s he like when he is jammed on his get off, how physical is he in terms of fighting for the ball, how we’ll does he lay out for a catch? Don’t have access to game film but his highlights show he can catch & sometimes take it to the house in soft coverage. However rarely do they show success against tight coverage…. Does or could he play as big as Marshall, Bryant or D Thomas??

  8. Ukhawk says:

    How physical Coleman *is?

  9. Kenny Sloth says:

    Mariota shredding a solid husky d.

    • Colin says:

      He could make a nice R2-R3 option for a team. Run some read option and move him around, maybe with a bit of time he could be a pretty good starter.

      • Michael says:

        Am I crazy, or is there no way that Mariota makes it to round 2? Aside from not running the proverbial “pro style offense”, what is he missing?

  10. Kyle says:

    Kind of off topic, but once again, Keith Price was focusing a lot on hitting receivers near the side lines and not over the middle. That just seems to be the game plan, and ASJ is left out of it a lot despite the big TD grab. As a Husky fan, I would love it if he stayed for one last year, but I couldn’t blame him for moving on.

  11. Miles says:

    One wide receiver who no one is talking about (but should) is L’Damian Washington from Missouri. He is a 6’4″, 205 pound body that can run a sub-4.4. I’ve also seen him go up and get a lot of balls in tight coverage this year. He had a great catch on a reverse-pass in Missouri’s win yesterday. He’s graded as a late-7th on but I think he should go way higher given his rare physical attributes.