Corey Coleman in 2018. | Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Former first-round pick by Browns hasn’t lived up to the hype
The New York Giants, despite seemingly needing depth at wide receiver, did not select one in the 2020 NFL Draft. They did re-sign Corey Coleman, who missed the 2019 season after tearing his ACL on the first day of training camp.
That means there is an opening for Coleman, who hasn’t lived up to his status as the 15th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Let’s take a closer look at the 25-year-old.
Age: 26 when season begins
Position: Wide receiver
Contract status: Signed one-year, $1.1. million contract with $100,000 guaranteed
How he got here
Coleman was traded by Cleveland to the Buffalo Bills before the 2018 season, and didn’t make it to Week 1. He was cut, then picked up and cut twice by the New England Patriots before landing on the Giants’ practice squad in mid-October. He ended up active for eight games. He caught just five passes but averaged 26.0 yards while returning kickoffs for the first time in his career, and one a single punt return for 19 yards.
He earned an opportunity to come back in 2019 and compete for an even bigger role, but suffered a torn ACL in the first practice of training camp and missed the entire season.
“Just give me a chance,” Coleman said this week about his impending free agency in a phone interview with ESPN. “I’m not asking for anything. Just a fair chance and opportunity.”
He’s got one with the Giants. Provided he still has something close to the 4.37 speed and excellent explosion he possessed pre-injury, Coleman should have an excellent chance to reclaim his role as the team’s primary kickoff returner. We don’t know what the plans are, but he may even have a chance to earn the punt return job.
Coleman might be a great test of the Joe Judge “don’t tell me what a player can’t do” mantra.
Here is what Judge said at his introductory press conference:
“What I learned from Coach Belichick was real simple — be flexible within your personnel. Don’t try to shove round pegs into square holes. Figure out what you have. Let them play to their strengths. Don’t sit in a meeting and tell me what you don’t have in a player. Don’t tell me they can’t do certain things, tell me what they can do and then we’ll figure out as coaches, because that’s our job, how we can use that. That’s our responsibility. Everybody has something they can do. How many castoffs do you see around the league in the NFL on another team that everyone says, ‘Wow, how’d they get that out of them?’ Maybe they just weren’t closing their eyes to what they could do. We have to, as a coaching staff when we get assembled, we have to make sure we’re sitting down, we’re patient with our players, we fully evaluate them, we find out what they can do to be an asset, and that we’re not foolish enough to not use them.”
Coleman has useful skills, mostly revolving around his speed. Can Judge and the Giants take advantage of them?