Can Corey Coleman revive his career with Kansas City Chiefs?

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 09: Cornerback Fabian Moreau #31 of the Washington Redskins looks on as wide receiver Corey Coleman #19 drops a first half pass at FedExField on December 09, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 09: Cornerback Fabian Moreau #31 of the Washington Redskins looks on as wide receiver Corey Coleman #19 drops a first half pass at FedExField on December 09, 2018 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Throughout the draft process in 2016, former Baylor Bear Corey Coleman was one of the most hyped wide receivers in the entire class. According to Arif Hasan’s consensus big board for the 2016 NFL Draft, Coleman was the third highest-rated wide receiver in his draft class and the 23rd highest-ranked overall player. He went a little early at No. 15 overall but he was still hyped as a future No. 1 receiver for the Browns.

Despite not playing the entire preseason, Coleman’s career started off hot with 7 catches for 173 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns through 2 games in 2016. But after breaking his hand in a practice that September, Coleman’s career has never been the same since. After the injury, in 17 games across 2016 and 2017, Coleman managed just 49 catches for 545 yards and 3 touchdowns with the Browns.

During the 2018 preseason with the Browns, Coleman became frustrated when he wasn’t receiving any first-team reps and proceeded to request a trade, which was shown on that season’s Hard Knocks. The Browns eventually traded him to the Bills for a 7th-round pick but he was waived not even a month after the trade. He then had an extremely short stint with the Patriots that lasted 18 days. Not long after leaving the Patriots, he eventually found a home with the Giants, whom he was with through the November of 2020. He only racked up 5 catches for 71 yards and zero touchdowns in his Giants career, including no game action in 2019 and 2020.

After being selected in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft, receiver Corey Coleman’s career has not gone well. Can he revive his career with the Chiefs?

On January 19, 2021, Corey Coleman was suspended for the first six games of the 2021 season by the NFL for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He was not signed by any football team in 2021.

Then out of nowhere, despite not playing any live football for over three calendar years, the Kansas City Chiefs signed Corey Coleman to a one-year deal this past March. As our Matt Conner wrote after the news broke, “the Chiefs could have easily signed him (after the suspension) then and let him serve his time to get a closer look if they were interested. That’s especially true given the need at wide receiver all season for K.C.”

This appears to be another one of those Brett Veach acquisitions banking on the potential of a player who has yet to break out in the NFL. Coming out of Baylor, speed, route-running, and solid ability against press coverage was among Corey Coleman’s strengths. His weaknesses were injuries, size, and drops. Drops have been a consistent problem for him as he’s earned well above average Pro Football Focus Hands/Drop Grades ($) of 51.9, 37.7, and 45.8 (60.0 is considered “average”) in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively. Those grades translate to drop %s of 10.8%, 14.8%, and 16.7% during those three seasons for a career drop % of 12.9%, dropping roughly 1 in 8 on-target passes in his NFL career.

Corey Coleman is a long shot to make the team later this summer because he is already behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman, and Skyy Moore on the depth chart. He’ll also compete with Josh Gordon, Justyn Ross, Justin Watson, Cornell Powell, and others for the final 2-3 wide receiver roster spots.

In my opinion, Coleman will have to blow away Patrick Mahomes and the coaching staff with his offensive ability and/or Dave Toub on special teams in order to make the team. There are not a lot of precedents for a wide receiver to break out after six years of basically nothing. If Coleman is tied with a receiver 3-5 years younger than him to make the roster, the younger option will very likely make the team. But at the same time, if Coleman can outrun every other bubble player, the Chiefs will go with the best options they have, no matter the age or career statistics.

If Coleman can somehow reach his potential with the Chiefs, then Veach and Andy Reid may have just struck gold. But realistically, it is unlikely that Coleman is much more than the equivalent of a dollar scratcher from QuickTrip. If he turns into something, excellent! If not, who cares since the Chiefs didn’t invest much in him.

What do you think of Corey Coleman? Do you think he’ll make the Chiefs at the end of camp? Feel free to let me know in the comment section or on Twitter (@StrozinskyLucas).

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