Corey Coleman went 15th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. He runs a sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash. And now he’ll catch passes from the greatest quarterback ever on a high-powered offense with a thin receiving corps.
Seems like a no-brainer pickup on the fantasy football waiver wire, right?
Well … not so fast.
The New England Patriots reportedly are signing Coleman to a one-year contract after working out the speedy wide receiver Monday. The talent and upside are there; Coleman amassed 1,363 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns during his final season at Baylor and just turned 24 in July.
He’s been more or less a bust in the NFL to date, though. The Texas native totaled 718 receiving yards and five touchdowns over his first two seasons with the Cleveland Browns with a catch percentage of just 37.8 percent, well below the league average. The Browns traded him to the Bills in August, but he didn’t even survive Buffalo’s final roster cuts and was released on Sept. 1.
It’s hard to be a productive receiver when Cody Kessler, Josh McCown and DeShone Kizer are throwing you the ball, so there’s an argument to be made that all-world quarterback Tom Brady can unlock Coleman’s potential in New England.
But if history is any indication, we’re not banking on it — not right away, at least.
Take Phillip Dorsett, another first-round wideout who joined the Patriots in September last season. Dorsett looks like he could be a serious contributor this season, but it took him a while to pick up New England’s challenging offense; he recorded just four catches over the Patriots’ first eight games in 2017 and finished the year with 12 receptions.
Dorsett actually fared better than other receivers to walk through Foxboro’s revolving door of pass-catchers. Kenny Britt, Eric Decker and Jordan Matthews all were productive wideouts elsewhere but couldn’t crack New England’s 53-man roster this season. As Brady himself has admitted, it’s not easy learning this offense and gaining the QB’s trust takes time.
Coleman very well could be a sneaky-good fantasy play late in the season, or in 2019 if the Patriots opt to re-sign him. But don’t expect him to be fantasy relevant for at least the next several weeks as he gets his bearings in New England.
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