Scouting Report: Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana
A potential one-cut producer
Tevin Coleman is one of the more interesting backs in this year’s draft class. He brings serious speed and big play ability to the table, but he’s not the all-around back that Ameer Abdullah or Duke Johnson are and he lacks the power of some of the bigger backs in the class like Mike Davis, Todd Gurley or Jay Ajayi. Coleman is more of a unique talent. I’ve heard him compared to Darren McFadden by a few people. It’s a solid comparison and potentially prescient, as McFadden has a long injury history and Coleman has some injury concerns not to mention a current toe injury that cost him the chance to do most of the drills at the combine.
I think most would agree that Coleman is best suited for a zone scheme. He’s a decisive one-cut runner who can wreak havoc on the second level and run away from defenses. The only thing Coleman was able to do in Indianapolis, apart from the bench press, was answer questions.
Here’s what he had to say regarding the injury that kept him out of most activities.
“It was my toe. He took a sesamoid bone out and attached a tendon to the other bone. It happened in the fifth game of the season. I played through it, had surgery after the season. It was definitely painful.” Sounds like something I’d rather a RB not have, but the other angle is that he could be healthier in 2015 than he was in 2014.
On his running style.
“I’m a guy that loves the outside zone, that has great vision. I’m a great pass protector, so I have no problems with that.”
- Height - 5’11”
- Weight - 206
- Hand - 8 5/8”
- Bench - 22 reps
Coleman, who is still recovering from his injury, was able to run an eye-popping 4.39 40 yard dash at his pro day though he was not able to do other timed drills just yet.
- Speed - He may be the fastest back in this draft.
- Burst - Call it a great first step or whatever you want, when Coleman sees the hole, he can explode through it and he has an extra gear once he’s in the open field. He’s a very explosive runner and he could make a lot of big plays for a team like Atlanta or Detroit—offenses who don’t see a lot of defenders in the box.
- Big play ability - Just watch his highlight reel. If this guy sees daylight, the defense is in big trouble. Speed kills.
- Running style - He’s a good one-cut or zone runner and he’s good at keeping his pads perpendicular to the line of scrimmage. He could stand to be more patient at times, particularly on inside runs.
- Pass protection - Coleman says he’s good in this area and he’s got the physical traits to be effective. His 22 reps on the bench at the combine are certainly a plus. On film, he’s a willing blocker who attacks oncoming rushers but who also gets pushed around at times.
- Receiving ability - I like what I see here for the most part. He’s good enough to be a play-maker in the passing game. He doesn’t stand out in this class as a receiver because there are a lot of excellent receiving backs in this year’s group, but Coleman’s good enough to get his speed involved in the passing game, and that’s important.
- Ball security - Coleman has put some balls on the ground (four last year, losing three), which is not a huge red flag but it’s less than good. He does have small hands, so high-and-tight technique is a must. We’d like to see him get the ball in his outside hand more consistently and we’d like to see him get a second hand on the ball when finishing runs. His technique, if it goes unchanged, will lead to targeting by defenders at the next level.
- Production - His 2014 numbers were impressive to say the least. Coleman got better each year in terms of yards per attempt, which is a positive sign.
Draft Breakdown has five of Coleman’s games cut up and they are all worth a look.
Here’s the mentioned highlight reel, which shows you all you should need to see in terms of Coleman’s speed.
Coleman is a complex player to evaluate. It’s easy to get too focused on his weaknesses and if you do, you’ll risk missing on his potential.
On the plus side, he has some very obvious material strengths such as speed and big play ability. He’s very clearly a zone runner, which is probably a good thing because he’ll most likely go to a team that wants that kind of back. If he was a lead back on a Kubiak or Shanahan-led offense, I’d be very excited about his potential production. Here are a few teams that I’d project as fits for Coleman who also have a need.
There are plenty of other teams that run plenty of stretch/zone, but the above four have the greatest need for a back like Coleman.
Alright, let’s flip the coin. The downside with Coleman is not limited to one area.
- Durability - He’s obviously coming off of a toe injury, so you have an immediate concern, but the long term issue is that he’s a 206 pound back who projects as more of a lead back with a power running style. As we said with Duke Johnson, Coleman will need to prove that he can hold up and, in Coleman’s case, we have a current injury to worry about.
- Size - His lack of size relates mostly to the durability issue, but he will be more vulnerable to arm tackles at the next level.
- YAC - The lack of yards after contact is a concern. Coleman will go down too easily at times and can be a little top heavy. While this helps him finish some runs, it also makes him easy to bring down at times.
Coleman is a back who needs to find the right home. The draft will be more important for him than for some other backs who fit multiple schemes.
I’ll update Coleman after the draft in our post-draft rankings.
More 2015 Scouting Reports:
- Duke Johnson, RB, Miami
- Mike Davis, RB, South Carolina
- Kevin White, WR, West Virginia
- Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
- Maxx Williams, TE, Minnesota
- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
- Phillip Dorsett, WR, Miami
- Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
- TJ Yeldon, RB, Alabama
- Tre McBride, WR, William & Mary
- Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
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