Tevin Coleman intriguing fit with Atlanta Falcons


The Atlanta Falcons could have easily scooped up a running back in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but they decided to take a talented cornerback instead, drafting raw but uber-talented LSU product Jalen Collins as a potential partner for shutdown corner Desmond Trufant. In the third round, the Falcons got their man at running back by drafting Tevin Coleman, who was viewed by many as the top back behind top-20 picks Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon.

Instead, the Jacksonville Jaguars made T.J. Yeldon the third pick of the second day, and it was a great selection for a team that needed an all-around pure rusher and foundation pack. Then, the Detroit Lions added high-character Ameer Abdullah, he of the devastating cuts and excellent vision.

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So Coleman was left to slip into the third round, but he didn’t have to last long and seems to be in a favorable situation. Although the offensive line in front of him isn’t strong at all, he gets to play with Julio Jones and Matt Ryan in the passing game, and he gets to benefit from ace offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and his zone-blocking scheme that tends to get the most out of running backs who can cut well.

The big knocks on Coleman are his inconsistency and his inability to make defenders miss, and those are two huge concerns that made me push him underneath Yeldon, Abdullah, and even Duke Johnson at the running back position. However. Coleman is the second-biggest home-run threat in the class at the position behind the elite MG3, as he’s a clear threat to take it to the house any time he finds a crease and gets into the open field.

I want to see how often Shanahan uses him and in which situations, because Coleman is definitely a high-upside player in the Falcons offense. Devonta Freeman is the more well-rounded RB who can contribute more on passing downs, but Coleman is obviously the more talented rusher and should receive the lion’s share of the carries. He was a beast in college for Indiana and was as efficient as any running back in this year’s loaded draft class.

I’m worried about Coleman given his bust potential, because, again, he has a tendency to run for minuscule gains and could struggle in the NFL if he can’t generate yardage on his own after contact or as a result of forcing missed tackles. But he’s so quick and explosive that it’s hard not to like him, because, again, he has the talent to light defenses up as a member of the Falcons offense.

Tevin Coleman deserved to be a third-round pick, and the Falcons are likely the best fit for him out of all of the teams in the league, even if they don’t have the kind of offensive line that he’d like. I think he can make it work, but there are going to be plenty of stalled drives and negative runs that offset some of the ridiculous runs that he will inevitably make in this league; he’ll be a fun one to watch on those Monday highlight reels.

Next: Round 2 Grades and Analysis

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