May not get lots of yards after contact in the NFL
Will need to continue to improve blocking
Summary: Even though Indiana is in one of the most storied conferences for college football, the Big Ten, the program hasn't been one that produces a lot of NFL talent. However from time to time, the Hoosiers have some good prospects for the NFL who go a bit under the radar because they don't play at a football powerhouse. Coleman is this year's example.
Coleman was very productive in 2014. The junior averaged 7.5 yards per carry for 2,036 yards with 15 touchdowns. He also snagged 25 receptions for 141 yards as a receiver. In 2013, Coleman had 958 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry. He made 19 receptions for 193 yards.
As a runner, Coleman is a home-run hitter. He is a threat to break any carry for a long gain. Coleman has a second gear to break into the secondary and explode down the field. His speed catches linebackers, safeties and other defensive backs by surprise, and he often takes away angles with his sheer explosion. Coleman accelerates in an instant and hits the second level of a defense.
Coleman didn't get a lot of receiving and blocking opportunities at Indiana, so he will need some development there for NFL passing offenses. He also needs to improve his patience as he looks to go the distance with every carry. While Coleman has some strength, against bigger NFL defenders he probably won't be a big yards-after-the-carry runner who powers through tacklers. Coleman is more an explosive speed back for the next level.
Some teams have some health questions about Coleman and how that is going to impact his stamina as a runner in the NFL. It was evident in college as Indiana would give him some breaks after long runs.
For the NFL, Coleman looks like he could have the potential to be an impact runner. Given his running style and other weaknesses, he would be better off being part of a platoon situation in a backfield. Making him a three-down starter who takes on a huge work load of carries, catching passes and blocking could be a bad fit for him.
In the 2015 NFL Draft, Coleman looks like a second- or third-round pick.
Player Comparison: Darren McFadden. The running styles between Coleman and McFadden are similar. Both are looking to break off a home run on every carry. Each one has speed, but not a lot of power for the NFL. McFadden (6-1, 218) had talent, and it flashed for the Raiders at times, especially in 2010. Coleman could be a back similar to McFadden when he's been healthy.
NFL Matches: Minnesota, Oakland, Miami, New York Jets, New England, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, San Diego, Arizona
In the AFC South, the Jaguars look like a potential landing spot for Coleman. Jacksonville needs a starting running back badly. Denard Robinson is just a backup change of pace while Toby Gerhart was a disappointment. Coleman would be a perfect fit in Greg Olson's offense.
The Texans got a great season out of Arian Foster, but could use another running back as Foster has had injury issues every season. Houston will probably miss out on a quarterback, so having depth in the rushing attack is mandatory. Staying in the AFC South, the Colts could use a runner for Andrew Luck as Frank Gore is just a temporary fill-in.
There are a lot teams that could use help at running back. The Vikings could be a good fit for Coleman as a potential replacement for Adrian Peterson if the veteran is successful in forcing his way out of Minnesota. Coleman and Jerick McKinnon could give the Vikings a fast backfield.
The Raiders need another running back as Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden are gone. Latavius Murray ran well for Oakland in 2014, but the organization could use another back to pair with him.
Detroit had one of the worst rushing offenses in the NFL in 2014 and adding a feature back would make sense. Coleman could be a good replacement for Reggie Bush in the second round.
In the AFC East, Miami could use a back to pair with Lamar Miller. New England has used a number of backs, but it would make sense to get a stable presence in the backfield. The Jets tried to see if Chris Johnson had anything left in 2014, but clearly he was done. New York could use a another back to pair with Chris Ivory. Coleman could interest the Jets early in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
San Diego could use a back like Coleman. He would be a good runner to run behind the team's big offensive line and take the pressure off of Philip Rivers. The Chargers have shown a lot of interest in Coleman.
The Cardinals want a back to pair with Andre Ellington. Arizona taking Coleman in the second round would make sense.