Rutgers lone combine invite this year went to Brandon Coleman, the big target who looked like a lock to make it to the NFL the moment he set foot on campus. With official measurements at 6'6" and 225 pounds, a 34" arm length and 9-1/4" hands, Coleman has everything you want physically in a wide receiver's frame. There was just one question: how did his knee hold up after surgery? Analysts deemed him slow without a great amount of explosiveness after watching him closely the 2013 season. A good 40-yard dash time would go a long way in quieting his critics.
Officially, Coleman ran a 4.56 second 40-yard dash. For a player his size, that's an extremely solid number, especially considering he had knee surgery prior to the 2013 season. Teams wondering if he had lost any speed were relieved, if they were thinking about drafting him at all. He also posted 21 reps in the bench press workout, good for second best among all wide receivers. That's a great advertisement for the Rutgers strength program, and should help other Scarlet Knights eligible for the draft this year.
Coleman does have two issues with his game. One issue is his overall athleticism. While his straight-line speed hasn't suffered too much from surgery, he simply isn't an elite athlete. Even in top health, Coleman doesn't possess the type of cutback or shifty moves to make good defenders miss. While he has length and size to tower over smaller defensive backs, he doesn't achieve good separation to get open. He lets smaller defenders get close to him in traffic, and he doesn't have the greatest hands to make difficult catches.
That's the second issue. During his three years on the banks, Coleman became one of the more frustrating players to watch. For all of his great catches (one-handed grab against Syracuse, deep ball against Iowa State in the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl, etc.), he has just as many drops, many of which should have been easy catches. He has such long arms, but if you watch him he likes to catch the ball into his body quite a bit. That negates his rangy frame and makes him an easy player to defend.
Where Will He Go on Draft Day?
Coleman had a decent combine workout. He answered questions about his knee quite well with his 40 time, but scouts were less than impressed with his overall game. Even after three years of substantial playing time, he is still seen as a player who has a lot of potential, and not a lot of great experience. You can peg some of that to the terrible quarterback play over the course of his tenure, but his production is hard to argue.
As of right now, his third-round projection still looks accurate. This is an extremely deep wide receiver class, and he's competing with star names like Sammy Watkins, Marqise Lee, and Mike Evans. A good Pro Day will definitely help. Whoever ends up drafting Coleman will be getting a player who can be coached to reach his potential. He doesn't have a diva attitude, which is a plus for the position.