On Sunday night, the Buffalo Bills acquired wide receiver Corey Coleman from the Cleveland Browns via trade. The former first round pick (15th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft) came cheap, costing the Bills a seventh round pick. In 2020. Injuries and some notable drops certainly lowered Coleman’s trade value, but dang if that isn’t a steal. The only possible downside will be eating the remainder of Coleman’s contract if he completely flames out.
Corey Coleman broke his hand in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons, which is not an ideal injury for a wide receiver. Both injuries were to the same hand. Both times it was during or after a game against the Baltimore Ravens. In both seasons this game was the second week. He returned to action in November following both injuries. Everyone is hoping he’ll buck the tradition he started a couple years ago. If he does, here’s an idea of what we might be able to expect with Coleman on the field.
The Bills have been run first for some time, so let’s start there. This block leans toward Corey Coleman’s low end ability and is adequate at the very least. At higher speeds, Coleman will occasionally miss a block but not frequently enough to be a red flag. This was the first game of the Cleveland Browns’ 2017 season with Coleman’s hand healed from the 2016 injury (and pre-2017 injury).
When Corey Coleman decides to get serious with a block, you get this. That’s
Vontaze Burfict Dre Kirkpatrick* he’s up against. Coleman is driving back effectively and the push to end it is nothing short of excellent. The pair were head to head a lot this game and at the end of ten rounds I’d be raising Coleman’s hand. If you’re wondering, this was in November after his second hand injury and surgery.
It was quite tempting to pause this play to highlight the fake to the inside. Sometimes though, full speed is the only way to go. The sell to the inside is beautiful. Coleman accelerates and Kirkpatrick works double-time to catch up. With zero hyperbole, this analysis could be twice as long and it still wouldn’t capture all of Coleman’s moves.
This might bring back memories of Stevie Johnson and his basketball moves. Colemans’ fluidity on this spin and ability to get behind his man (guess who) really rubs the salt in the wound of that red line at the end of the play. If this pass was delivered along that path it’s a huge play. A quarterback attempting to make the best use of Coleman’s skills will need to trust him to be in the right place at the right time. If that chemistry can be built, Coleman has the potential to be a dangerous receiver.
One more for the road. The first stop-and-go gets Joe Haden to pause in his coverage. When Corey Coleman starts burning up-field, Haden takes the bait and overreacts to the route thinking it’s going deep. Coleman times up his second stop-and-go well. The ball is a little off target to the outside which doesn’t help the chance for YAC, but there’s a lot to like on this play.
As exciting as the film review of Corey Coleman was, it’s not all good news. Coleman’s catch rate was an abysmal 40%. To be fair to Coleman, several other wide receivers struggled in this statistic last year with the Browns. Film review made it abundantly clear that the quarterback position shouldered much of the blame, but not enough to completely exonerate Coleman. The catch above was one of several fairly notable drops. On this one, there’s nothing to mitigate the blame for a missed touchdown. Coleman’s drops seem to be the result of lapses in concentration which should be correctable. As a final verdict, the on-field performance of Corey Coleman has left me bewildered as to why a team would cut ties with him for a seventh round pick two drafts in the future.
*Credit to thekotton for the catch