Many people, including myself, believe that the 2013 NFL draft will have a very solid group of wide receivers. Justin Hunter, Keenan Allen, Robert Woods, Terrance Williams, Da’Rick Rogers, DeAndre Hopkins are all expected to come out and there are some intriguing underclassmen like Cordarelle Patterson. However, one of the biggest (literally) wild cards at the position could be Rutger’s receiver Brandon Coleman
Coleman is a redshirt sophomore for Rutgers and is putting together a solid second season as a starter despite less-than-ideal quarterback play and losing his head coach to the NFL.
Coleman’s freshman season was uncelebrated due to the lack of receptions; he only had 17. Rutger’s passing game went through Muhammad Sanu last season and Coleman was the complimentary option. However, Coleman made the most of his opportunities, averaging a ridiculous 32 yards per catch last season.
Coleman is an explosive player and a long strider with the ability to stretch the field vertically. His speed and leaping ability are impressive, but it is Coleman’s size that sets him apart in the class of receivers. Coleman is listed at 6’6″ and 220 pounds. That size combined with his ability to attack zones in a defense make him an ideal package as a prospect.
He is extremely raw, and his yards per catch stats have gone down significantly this year, but really they had no where to go but down. Coleman has taken the role as the top target like Sanu was last year and thus is often the quick-read option and is used as the quick-slant and hitch target.
Coleman’s youth, physical abilities, and raw potential make him an extremely tempting prospect in this class of receivers. None of the other prospects have his size, and few match his speed. He may not have the burst off the line like some of them do, but he is deceptively fast being such a long strider.
Not many expect Coleman to declare, but he is eligible for the draft and losing the head coach that recruited you is always a factor in underclassmen projections. If he does declare, Coleman could be a fast offseason riser if he posts good numbers at the NFL combine. Teams will love him being so young and mold-able.
Coleman has the potential to be one of the top three wide receivers selected this year should he declare. He is a rare physical specimen but he needs to show that being a big, raw, fast athlete isn’t all that he brings to the table. If he continues to show flashes of true receiving ability this season, he could make himself a lot of money. But will he be a Vincent Jackson, or a James Hardy?