Cleveland Browns’ Corey Coleman a Rookie of the Year Contender

Corey Coleman © Cleveland Browns

Corey Coleman is prepared to be heavily involved in his rookie campaign with the Cleveland Browns, so involved that the No. 15 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft should be considered for Rookie of the Year.

The Cleveland Browns decided their organization was ready for yet another rebuild after a disappointing 3-13 record in 2016. Due to a shift in theory and scheme, the Browns look forward to running a quicker, more efficient offense whose foundation is focused on the run. Head coach Hue Jackson is an offensive mind whose technique has produced results with the Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals in previous seasons.

The Browns ranked No. 21 in 2015 among the NFL for passing yards per game (236.4) and No. 26 in passing touchdowns (20) and have struggled to find an elite wide receiver since returning to Cleveland in 1999. Unfortunately for Cleveland, the team has cut bait with several of their top players from last season. Josh Gordon is able to apply for reinstatement in August but the team has prepared themselves to play without the former pro bowler. Travis Benjamin and Brian Hartline accounted for 198 of the 609 targets last season, both are no longer with the Browns. Gary Barnidge and Duke Johnson are the only two players returning that had 30 receptions or more, neither of which play the wide receiver position.

It’s clear that the Cleveland Browns, amid drafting four wide receivers, will incorporate their rookies right away in 2016. This paves the path for Corey Coleman to have a big season, one certainly worthy of being a Rookie Of the Year candidate.

Coleman running

Coleman was the 2015 Biletnikoff Award winner for being the nation’s top wide receiver. The former Baylor star finished his last season with 74 receptions, 1,363 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns. Those are the kind of numbers that Cleveland’s front office expects to translate into the NFL, and rather quickly.

The Browns are projected to start QB Robert Griffin III. Griffins’ arm strength is what put him on the map and is considered to be one of the key facets of his game. There is no doubt Jackson will quickly integrate the Griffin-to-Coleman combination into the Brown’s playbook as Coleman offers such playmaking it can be argued he is already the best wideout on the roster.

Initial separation combined with elite burst and acceleration is a trait that is difficult to come by in a rookie receiver, hence why Coleman will be a certain Rookie Of the Year candidate. Obviously Ezekiel Elliott is the favorite as he will likely be the starting running back behind the top-tier line of the Dallas Cowboys.

The problem that arises is that Elliott is expected to be great immediately. Not that Coleman is isn’t for the Browns — the Cowboys however are the favorite in a weak NFC East division with established players such as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. The Browns on the other hand, are expected to finish with a poor record and many experts tend to the think they will be the worst team in the league this upcoming season. Corey Coleman will be the Browns No. 1 receiver heading into the season with only Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel returning from last season behind him. Rashard Higgins and Jordan Payton will both get playing time as well, although the two simply aren’t as NFL ready as Coleman who was the top receiver taken in the draft.

The Browns may just have their first Rookie Of the Year candidate since Braylon Edwards in 2005. Between the offensive guru that is Hue Jackson, a cannon with RGIII and playmaking capabilities in Coleman, he is an easy candidate for the 2016 Rookie Of the Year Award.



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