Why Undrafted?: Brandon Coleman

Why Undrafted?: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

The NFL is a copycat league, and one of the successes that some teams wanted to mimmic this offseason was the Chicago Bears’ dynamic receiving tandem of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Both receivers have big size and speed to beat defensive backs downfield. Many teams were looking for receivers with size in the 2014 NFL Draft, so it was surprising that Rutgers’ Brandon Coleman went undrafted.

The 6-foot-6, 225-pounder was the largest receiver in the draft class. In 2012, Coleman led Rutgers with 43 receptions for 718 yards and 10 touchdowns. He had a knee injury leading up to the 2013 season and wasn’t the same player. Coleman recorded 33 receptions for 538 yards with four touchdowns in his final season. At the Scouting Combine, he ran a quality 40 time for a big wide out of 4.56 seconds, but questions on if he has enough speed to separate from NFL defensive backs remained.

In speaking with sources, they said that Coleman went undrafted because of the medical reports. Teams aren’t convinced that his knee injury has healed, and some teams removed him from their boards. That combined with his speed concerns caused him to go undrafted.

Coleman and his representatives made a wise decision to have him sign with the Saints. New Orleans has been excellent at turning mid- to late-round and undrafted free agents into stars. The Saints have done so on the offensive line with players like Carl Nicks, Jahri Evans and Marques Colston being the most high profile. Colston is an aging receiver, and New Orleans has nothing to lose by seeing if Coleman can develop into a future replacement.

The Saints have drafted some good speed receivers in Kenny Stills and Brandin Cooks, but Coleman could add size to the equation. Since New Orleans has good veterans already, the organization can take its time with Coleman and allow him to get back to 100 percent. The Saints could stash Coleman on injured reserve or the practice squad for a year. Coleman and this team are a perfect match. If he rebounds to his 2012 form, New Orleans could have found another diamond in the rough.

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