If anyone told you going into the first week of the Saints 2017 training camp that the man who would have captured Saints fans attention, and ignited our imaginations would be Brandon Coleman you would have thought they were crazy. However, as it turns out that hypothetical person would have been dead right. Through 4 days of camp there has been absolutely no one as impressive as Brandon Coleman. The 4th year receiver out of Rutgers seems to have finally awakened to the reality of what his 6’6″ 230lb can do for him. Coleman has always been a player who has shown flashes of what he could be, however he’s never been able to consistently show those abilities. With his size, speed, strength, and frame Coleman should be a superstar in the NFL, However through 3 seasons he’s been a sometimes there, but mostly absent, giant who has driven Saints Twitter nuts with his inability to turn potential into play.
That isn’t to say Coleman hasn’t improved, although if all you know about this young man is what you read on twitter you may actually believe Coleman’s emergence came out of nowhere. The reality is that everything Coleman has done and been through since suffering a major knee injury his final year at Rutgers has set him up for this sudden explosion. It’s way too early to declare Coleman the next superstar in the NFL, but its not too early to try to understand how he got to where he seemingly is now…and to give him credit for it.
Brandon Coleman has always been judged unfairly by fans by his frame, and not his circumstance. Coleman came out of college a talented but raw kid in need of coaching who suddenly blew up his knee and dropped out of the draft. Sure, he had some elite physical attributes, but that alone doesn’t make you an effective pro. Coleman started off as a UDFA who made the Saints practice squad, and after a year recovering and training with NFL coaches he managed to make the Saints active roster in his 2nd year. The following season Coleman had what Sean Payton described as a ‘pedestrian’ camp, but he managed to stay on the team and actually turned in a very solid year in 2016. Not only was Coleman easily the teams best run blocker (a VERY valuable skill even if it doesn’t help our fantasy teams), but he was actually a productive player as well. Coleman as the team’s 4th wide receiver turned in nearly 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, and for that position those are solid numbers. Add to that being a very good run blocker and he should be the guy up for an unheralded hero award, not being hated. However, there were several plays throughout the year where Coleman just barely failed to come up with a spectacular grab. Unfortunately failing to make a great play can be seen as just as much of a failure as dropping a routine reception (looking at you Fleener).
Coleman has improved each year, and he’s put in hard work and steadily developed into an NFL caliber receiver not only from a physical standpoint, but from a technical one. The only missing competent at the end of last season was the mental side of things. Not his ability to process information or understand the playbook, but how he approached the game. There are ‘little guys’ who play like giants, and giants who play like little guys. Until recently Coleman often fell into the latter category. What appears to have happened over the offseason, and maybe the return of Saints receiver coach Curtis Johnson has had something to do with it, is that Coleman seems to have finally realized that he’s a SIX FOOT SIX monster of a human being, and he is plenty capable of physically dominating his competition. Coleman has not only looked smoother, stronger, and faster, he has looked CONFIDENT, and that was always the component he was missing. If you ever want to achieve greatness you must first believe you are capable of it, perhaps now after 3 years of growing into himself Coleman finally believes what the rest of us knew all along….he’s a monster among men.