When it comes to home-run threats at the running back position in the 2015 NFL Draft class, Tevin Coleman's name is often at or near the top of the list. I went to the tape to see if this big-play ability in college might be a harbinger of future fantasy success for Coleman.
» Game-breaking top speed
» Runs like a freight train with power
» Quick straight-line acceleration
» Effective jump-cut
Watching Tevin Coleman run in the open field is a thing of beauty. There's a reason he became the third player in Big 10 history to rush for 2,000 yards, and why half of his career 28 rushing touchdowns are from 43-plus yards out: the guy can flat out fly. If Coleman has a hole it only takes him a few steps to get near his top gear, often forcing defensive backs to take poor angles as he's motoring toward the end zone.
Coleman also packs a solid punch once he has time to get going. He routinely broke arm tackles and bull-dozed defenders when hitting a well-blocked hole. And when there wasn't a clear path, he showed an effective jump cut to help get into space and start trucking.
» Jump cut belies stiff hips
» Suboptimal vision and patience
» Mainly a north-south runner
» Rarely gets more than what is blocked
While Coleman runs like a freight train when he gets a full-head of steam, if he doesn't have the time to get into gear he's far less powerful and effective. His stiff hips hurt him when it comes to creating space in the backfield or second level, and his vision prevents him from seeing open cut-back lanes or reading the defense effectively.
It was like night and day for Coleman when space was provided for him through blocking, and when the onus was on his shoulders. He truly is a home-run threat every time he touches the football, but if he wants to find the opportunities to hit those home runs in the NFL he's going to have to improve several aspects of his game.
Ideal NFL fantasy fits
Coleman has been compared to Darren McFadden in terms of running style, so why not put them together behind the best offensive line in football? Coleman could learn a lot behind Frank Gore for a year or two in Indy to help him become a more polished player. And in Atlanta he could form a potent thunder-lightning combo with Devonta Freeman, akin to what Cincinnati has with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard.
Early fantasy draft projection
My gut tells me it'll be a bit before Coleman truly hits the fantasy scene. His weaknesses will likely be exposed more by NFL-caliber defenders and coaches, but on the flip side, his offensive coaches will certainly try to put him in advantageous scenarios. For me it'll be a wait and see situation with Coleman, and I'll probably be waiting at least until 2016 before picking the former Hoosier in redrafts. He does represent a decent developmental prospect in dynasty, however.