Since Josh Gordon led the league in receiving yards in 2013, the Cleveland Browns haven’t had a stud number one receiver on their roster. Hopefully the Browns first round pick from the 2016 Draft Corey Coleman can solidify the position and be a key player for years to come.
Tight end Gary Barnidge had a career year last season with 1,043 yards for 9 touchdowns while averaging 13.2 yards per catch and earned a pro bowl reserve spot. Although impressive, the workload for a tight end should be significantly less than that. Travis Benjamin had a very nice start at the beginning of the season with 249 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first three games but only had one touchdown the rest of the season. Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins didn’t produce enough to mention their stats as they were non factors for the entire season. It’s obvious the receiving core needed help in a bad way.
Corey Coleman comes into his first year in the NFL highly praised. He was named second-team All-Big 12 (first team by the media) in his sophomore year after covering 1,119 yards and scoring 11 times on just 64 receptions. Coleman also won the Biletnikoff Award as the nations top receiver in 2015, along with unanimous All-American and first-team all-conference honors, leading the country with 20 touchdown 74 receptions for 1,363 yards for the year. This kid has extreme speed that could be big trouble for defenders. Although he is another short receiver, which the Browns have been ridiculed for the past two years for having undersized wide outs, he has the ability to jump over the best defender to snatch the ball out of the air. His best work is on the outside of the numbers when his speed lets him separate and get a step on the corner.
The size is a bit of a con to his game because although his best work is on the edge of the field, cornerbacks in the NFL are bigger and stronger than corners at the collegiate level. He will need to learn more than just a few routes and maybe even spend time in the slot his first year to adjust to the pro game and work his was to solidify. Head Coach Hue Jackson will know how to use him wisely in his system having experience working with small receivers from Cincinnati like Mohamed Sanu.
Coleman will not be a sudden impact but with the help of new position coach Chad Ochocinco, who played for under Hue Jackson in Cincinnati in 2004-2006, he can have a very solid rookie campaign and work his way to the number one spot in as little as two years.