For the most part, the Chiefs’ wide receiver room is set. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, Skyy Moore, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are locks, while Justin Watson is a pretty safe bet to make the team due to his chemistry with Patrick Mahomes. I also project that Daurice Fountain will be retained mostly because of his special teams experience. But if the Chiefs decide to carry a seventh wide receiver, does Corey Coleman have the strongest argument?
Corey Coleman is currently battling with primarily Josh Gordon and Cornell Powell to be the potential last man in the Chiefs’ wide receiver room and Gordon’s tough preseason is working in Coleman’s favor. Another thing in Coleman’s favor is his return ability. Over the first two exhibition games against Chicago and Washington, Coleman has returned three punts for 25 yards and two kickoffs for 47 yards. He did have a muff against the Bears at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Despite the muff, the Chiefs sticking with him shows that they are serious about him potentially being the starting return man.
When it comes to returning punts, the Chiefs have trotted out Trent McDuffie, Skyy Moore, Jerrion Ealy, and Omar Bayless alongside Corey Coleman this preseason. As for kickoffs, the same group sans McDuffie and Bayless, plus Isiah Pacheco. Coleman is second in punt return average (behind McDuffie) and is third in kickoff return average (behind Pacheco and Moore). It’s fair to say that his returning performance against Green Bay will likely determine whether he makes the Chiefs’ final roster. If he performs well enough on special teams, and outplays competitors such as Pacheco in that area, the Chiefs may roll with him in order to avoid risking McDuffie and Moore to injuries.
The return game will be important to whether or not Corey Coleman is on the active roster when Week 1 arrives but it won’t be the only area where the Chiefs will evaluate him. He’s had a quiet preseason receiving-wise (1 catch for 14 yards) so a strong receiving performance added to a solid night returning will do wonders for him. Cornell Powell has had seven catches for 45 yards in the first two preseason games so an argument can be made that a productive game on offense is more important for Coleman than a great game on special teams.
In conclusion, Coleman was a first-round pick back in 2016, so we know he has the talent, but he still has a lot to prove when it comes to playing on offense. The odds were against Coleman a month ago but a more than solid performance against Green Bay will be necessary to push him over the edge and onto a coveted spot on the Chiefs’ final roster.