Friday notes: Is Shon Coleman the best tackle in college?

Shon Coleman is having a fantastic 2015 season

You hear a lot about Ronnie Stanley, Taylor Decker, Jack Conklin and a few others.

Not enough people are talking about Auburn offensive tackle Shon Coleman.

That’s a surprise given his amazing backstory (Coleman beat cancer before winning a starting job with Auburn). He’s certainly making up for lost time in 2015. For me there’s no doubt Coleman warrants a high first round grade and he might even be the best offensive tackle in college football.

He has everything you want in a NFL starting OT. He’s too powerful for college defensive linemen — when he locks on it’s over. He doesn’t get beat with the bull rush. He drives people off the ball in short yardage situations. He has that nasty element to his game you want to see — and he LOVES to get to the second level. He can kick-slide with fluidity, takes good angles and he isn’t troubled by speed off the edge. He has a very natural shuffle and mirror and he maintains balance at all times.

I’ve watched several Auburn games this season and I’m struggling to find many flaws.

He’s a monster.

Last night against Kentucky it was more of the same and another masterclass. He played both left and right tackle (and showed no trouble transitioning between the two). For the first two drives he began protecting the blindside and moved to the right side in the red zone. On both occasions Auburn ran to the right and scored touchdowns. On one red zone block he drove a defender deep into the end zone and stuck him on his backside (and let him know about it too).

With 8:39 remaining in the first quarter Kentucky’s #91 shapes to stunt inside from the edge but goes on the outside. Coleman’s kick slide at left tackle is excellent, judging the angle perfectly. If #91 went inside Coleman was just going to stand up and shut him down. He goes on the outside and Coleman doesn’t break sweat with the counter. He engages at pad level and it’s over. He stones #91 dead and finishes the block. He’s just too powerful — #91 can’t get away. He can’t even get his hands up to offer a counter. It’s an absolute pasting as a 1v1 match-up. Auburn’s freshman quarterback has all the time in the world to stand in the pocket and throw downfield for a 41-yard gain.

With 3:21 left in the second half Coleman is lined up at right tackle. From the snap he darts to the second level and connects with the middle linebacker, creating a canyon sized hole for the running back to convert a 2nd and 4 into a first down. On the same drive with 3:05 left in the half, Coleman again explodes to the second level and hammers the middle linebacker, driving him backwards ten yards. The rest of the O-line gets minimal push and it’s a short 2-3 yard gain for the running back. It was funny to see one white Auburn jersey so far downfield, having destroying the linebacker.

His overall technique has improved every single week. He’s delivering a powerful jolt to the chest on most blocks, keeping the defender in front. The footwork is masterful — he’s the prototypical dancing bear. There’s plenty of attitude to his play — he chirps at defenders after successful plays. Coleman frequently puts a guy on the deck, finishing the block.

I’m convinced he can play anywhere on the line. He might start at right tackle and move to the left. He’d be a superb guard. Shon Coleman could be the best 2016 eligible player nobody talks about. He could be the best O-liner in next years class. Coleman is the real deal — and has to be on the radar for any Seahawks fan interested in the draft. They’ll be lucky if they have a chance to select this guy.

Tomorrow’s game to watch

The game of the day for me is Ole Miss at Memphis. This is a major opportunity for Tigers quarterback Paxton Lynch to show he’s the best in the 2016 eligible class — superior to Jared Goff and co.

Lynch has really impressed so far this season. He’s yet to throw a touchdown (he’s had a couple of close calls) and he’s been generally very accurate. He has the kind of arm you’d expect for a 6-5, 235lbs quarterback but he also throws with nice touch and varies his throwing speed. Most impressive is his mobility — he runs the read option with relative ease and is a threat in the running game.

Teams will look at the quarterback class overall and pick holes with every prospect on the board. There’s no Marcus Mariota here, or even a Jameis Winston (sound tape but with character flaws). Every prospect is a project or just average.

Lynch has a skill-set, however, that a team can work with. He can be the big pocket passer but he’s not a statue. He can be elusive, he can run the read-option. It’s not unfair to suggest he could be a poor man’s Cam Newton.

Like Shon Coleman he’s not generating much publicity — but a big performance against a team filled with future NFL players will change that. The only chance Memphis has in this game is if Lynch keeps them in it. Memphis are unbeaten but their defense has conceded a lot of points. Their quarterback has simply scored more.

Ole Miss are a threat to put +40 on the board with Laquon Treadwell back to full speed and a supporting cast good enough to make up for an average quarterback. Lynch will have to be at his best to put pressure on the Rebels and keep this from getting out of hand. He’s good enough to do it, even while facing the likes of Robert Nkemdiche.

He doesn’t have to win the game to make a statement. He just needs to play well. Continue to make big plays, continue to throw accurate passes and try to avoid turnovers. If he makes this a game it’ll go a long way to cementing his place as the top QB for 2016. Don’t be surprised if he’s the toast of social media on Saturday afternoon.

Why not also watch LSU vs Florida? Compare cornerback Tre’Davious White to Vernon Hargreaves. One will be a top-15 pick (White). One will not go in the first round (Hargreaves). My prediction.


  1. Volume12

    Whether Shon Coleman is on the board when we pick or not, he’s hands down my favorite O-lineman in this class. He’s got a lifelong fan in me no matter where he goes. Just has the look, feel, and skillset of an NFL lineman. I’m curious to see if his age and medical history will back teams off.

    Game to watch for me? Alabama vs Texas A&M. Some very intriguing names for both teams.

  2. Mitch

    Hi Rob,

    Thanks for all your hard work!

    Kind of off topic, but I keep seeing a lot of stuff around about scouts being concerned about Laquon Treadwell’s speed and ability to gain separation from this? Do you think the reasons we rarely see him on downfield routes is because of the Ole Miss offence?

    I know we have invested a few resources in top flight targets over the past couple of years, but I would be curious to see how Russell goes with a top flight wide out who can go and get the ball. From what I have seen, our offence seems more geared towards wide receiver targets as both Graham and Miller have struggled to get many?

    Your thoughts,

    Cheers, Mitch

    • Rob Staton

      For me I have little concern with Treadwell’s speed. He’s not Martavis Bryant but that’s not his role. I think he’s a bigger WR who runs 4.5. But he’s just so adept at getting open and makes difficult catches look easy.

  3. CHawk Talker Eric

    Love the writeup. What struck me was how easy he made it look. Play after play, he dominated his opponent, and at no time did it look like he was close to his max. Like Neo fighting Mr. Anderson with one hand at the end of The Matrix.

    It doesn’t matter to me the small sample of one game, or the so-so level of talent on UK’s roster. If I’m a GM on an OL-needy team, this guy is my target.

    BTW very keen on watching Fournette vs Gators/Bullard, and White compared to Hargreaves.

    • Volume12

      I’m not even sure Hargreaves is the best DB on his team. Brian Poole and Keanu Neal may have something to say about that.

      Florida OLB Alex McAllister is freaky man.

  4. Colin

    What separates him from Greg Robinson? Everyone under God’s Blue Heaven said he was just great, great greater and he’s struggling mightily in pass pro for STL. Auburn is a major run team and their offense isn’t particularly advanced, especially in the pass game.

    Granted, I’ve watched zero film on the guy, but what makes him so special that we should ignore prior history?

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      Greg Robinson was a Combine darling. Not many 6’5″ 330lb athletes with 35″ arms who can run a 4.9 40 or broad jump 113″. And 32 reps on BP didn’t hurt.

      Also, 2013 Auburn ran almost all the time behind Tre Mason and Nick Marshall. Robinson was a great run blocking OT, but not so much in pass pro.

      Finally, he’s pretty young. At least a year younger than Coleman I think. Inexperience hurts him as a rookie.

      I haven’t the faintest idea what kind of combine numbers Coleman will put up. But I don’t care. His tape is that good. Pass pro, run block, he’s got it all.

      • Colin

        Thanks. I hadn’t thought about the combine numbers.

    • Rob Staton

      The fact they’re two different players?

      I mean, just because Robinson hasn’t delivered on his massive potential so far, should we now tarnish every Auburn offensive lineman?

      • Trevor

        For me the biggest difference is the attitude that Coleman plays with and his back story. I think PC/JS/Cable will love the back story and fighter mentality. Combine that with his size and skill and you have the makings of a dominant NFL tackle.

      • CharlietheUnicorn

        I still think Robinson can turn it around and be a top shelf OL in NFL. Perhaps the RAMS are not the place for him, but other teams might have better success or coaching to bring out the best in him.

  5. Trevor

    Rob I agree 100%. Since the first time you mentioned him I have watched all his tape. He is by far my favorite prospect in this draft for the Seahawks. He ticks every box and is in a position of great need.

    In a dream scenario he is there when we pick in Rd #1.

    Resign Okung at LT and put him at RT and we are set at tackle for the next 5 years. Let Gilliam be a swing tackle in case of injury and a position of weakness in 2015 becomes a strength in 2016.

  6. CharlietheUnicorn

    IF this OT continues to play this way, for the rest of the season, you can forget Seattle having a shot at him. There are way too many teams “desperate” for OT for him to make it out of top 20 and more likely top 10…. if he has a respectable combine and continued dominant season (on tape).

    • CharlietheUnicorn

      The back story on him is great as well. Overcoming cancer, talk about a powerful motivator for a person.

      • nichansen01

        You forget that going 5-11 or 6-10 is a possibility for us this year

        • Thy Hawk which is most Screeching

          Nah man 13-3 with a ring of power!

  7. KD

    Nice write up Rob.

    I’m a UW Husky fan (as I assume most posters here are), but I can’t really see any NFL prospects on the Huskies. John Ross may be one to keep an eye on, but he’s out for the year. Buddah Baker, maybe down the line. Aside from that, I’m excited for the future of this team which is showing some nice heart and grit, but I can’t really see much draftable NFL talent there. Thoughts?

    • KD

      On a side note, as horrified as I am to root for an opposing NFC player, I’m really happy to see Kikaha doing so well for the Saints.

      • CharlietheUnicorn

        In 2018, their QB will be a draft pick, perhaps 1st rounder if the hype holds up to the ability. He has already shown flashes and can make some incredible throws… as a freshman. Watch-out when he gets to his Jr year… he might be the second coming of…..

        • nichansen01

          In a dream scenario, we are somehow able to draft Coleman in the first and joe Dahl in the second, then Alex Collins in the third and a DT for our 3rd comp pick…

    • Volume12

      KD, there’s some talent on that defense besides Budda. OLB Travis Feeney will be drafted, CB Kevin King as well. Down the road their 2 MIKE ‘backers, Elihah Qualls, their pretty loaded. I know I’m forgetting a name or two.

      Kevin King, while only a jr., has the look and length of a Seahawk corner. Feeney is the same size as Pinkins and Mike Morgan, but actually appears to have better length and can get after the QB, although Pinkins hopefully can as well.

  8. Volume12

    BYU WR Mitch Matthews is a gritty dude. Great size too.

    • Volume12

      Scratch that. Make it Nick Kurtz. Although Matthews ain’t bad either, even though he’s like 25-26.

      Houston QB Greg Ward is an exciting prospect. Highly mobile, takes care of the ball, zone read guy, pretty good arm and touch too.

    • CHawk Talker Eric

      I thought Matthews showed well. Nice adjustment to several under thrown passes, held on to contested catches.

      • Volume12

        Yeah he’s not bad by any means. Thing is, he was a 2009. Kurtz showed off some toe tap abilty, got behind the defense, seems to have more upside.

        Bronson Kaufusi ain’t no 280 either. I don’t care what the team website says. But he’s an interesting edge guy. I don’t like him as much as I like Boise St’s Kamalei Correa. That kid is a stud. Him and DB Darian Thompson.

        • Wall UP

          Kaufusi is potential blocking TE prospect. Looks like he’s got good hands as well. Check out his reactions and natural instincts snagging that interception.

  9. Wall UP

    I don’t think the skills are there for the edge with his height and speed. There is potential on ‘O’ side at TE.

  10. Nichansen01

    Where is joe Dahl projected to go

    • Wall UP

      Rd7-FA, leaning more towards the latter. More of a potential Center. There are a lot good ones out there. Tuerk will be available in Rd 2, not just for center, but for LT/RT with a little weight added.

      A real tough type center with a real mean streak is Mich. St. Jack Allen. He will be available at 4th with a trade down, or wait out until the 179 comp pick.

      A perfect scenario would be Coleman falling their laps in Rd 1. Once he declares that’s out the window. More realistic pick is Adolphus Rd 1, Tuerk Rd 2, Jalen Mills Rd 3.

      • Nichansen01

        I thought Dahl was a potential second rounder… Anyways, where is Shawn oakman projected to go?

        • Volume12

          2nd-3rd round. He’s a top 100 player for me. Only so many people built like him. I call it ‘the planet theory.’ Well, not just me,

          • Volume12

            Dude, come over to the open thread.

    • Volume12

      Those rankings won’t stay the same.

      Nic, he’s a 3rd round type talent with the ability to get into the 2nd.

  11. Wall UP

    Check out the Ohio St. vs Mich St. game. There was a point where Jack threw Adolphus to the ground like a rag doll. Imagine how entertaining practices would be with those two making each other better? All about competition!

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