Coleman was heralded for his playmaking abilities and physicality as a wide receiver coming out of college. Although, injuries and inconsistencies have derailed those high-expectations entering the NFL.
It does not help being on a 1-15 team as a rookie. And certainly, does not help going 0-16 as a sophomore. Questionable coaching, poor quarterback play and a plethora of other obstacles play a role in all of this, but one thing remains certain. Corey Coleman was a first round selection and the first wide receiver off the draft board in 2016. In his third season in the NFL, it is time to put up or shut up.
The Browns made it crystal clear that upgrading their receiving core was an area of emphasis in the offseason, a sign Coleman shouldn’t take lightly.
As Josh Gordon remains sober and healthy, he is the clear-cut number one option for the Browns. The team also added two more dynamic receivers in Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway. Landry, acquired in an April trade, figures to start in the slot and has reportedly been impressive thus far through camp making spectacular catches. There are no doubts regarding Callaway’s talent level. It is more of a matter if he can stay healthy and out of trouble.
Nonetheless, Coleman is expected to be listed as the number three receiver on the depth chart come September. The looming question around Coleman in his first two seasons in the NFL is can he stay healthy? So far, he has missed time with two separate hand injuries.
Coleman has shown flashes of his talent in a few games but with shaky quarterback play and injuries it is difficult to use statistics to describe him. He’s posted 56 receptions for 718 yards and 5 touchdowns in his first two seasons in Cleveland. Of course, the play he is most remembered for is his epic drop for a first down, which concluded the Browns 0-16 season against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Fans have piled on the former Baylor star, but with only 19 games of experience as a professional, Coleman is ready for a breakthrough season with the Browns. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley said last week that he has spoken with Coleman about stepping up in 2018.
“He understands this is a big, big year in his career,” Haley stated. “Year three is usually the make-or-break year of what kind of you’re going to be. I’ve made that clear to him. He understands it, and he’s working hard accordingly to try to be the best that he can be.”
Haley has had success developing receivers in his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Antonio Brown is one-of-a-kind, but Haley’s done a decent job with the likes of Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and most recently JuJu Smith-Schuster. So, it will be exciting to see what he has in store in developing Corey Coleman.
With the Browns adding several receivers and having running back Duke Johnson catching passes out of the backfield Coleman will have less pressure on him to make plays. Perhaps that will help him get comfortable in a limited role. Or, the alternative, it can be a wake up call and hopefully unveil the star the Cleveland Browns thought they drafted with the number 15 pick in 2015.