Today we continue out draft profile series by looking at another player that the Detroit Lions have brought in for a visit. With running back being a need, Tevin Coleman is definitely a player to watch. Coleman is currently expected to be a second round pick. Some analysts have him going in the very late first round while most have him in the mid to late second round. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein tweeted today that he does not expect a big run on running backs in the second round. He is hearing the third round is when that will happen. If that happens, Coleman could fall to the third round. Even if that happens, the odds of him being there when Detroit picks are very low. If the Lions want him, they need to take him in the second round.
Tevin Coleman is a solid talent. He ran for 2000 yards last season, making him only the 3rd running back in Big 10 history to do that. Unfortunately for him, the second player in Big 10 history to do it was Melvin Gordon who also was over 2000 this season. With two running backs going over 2000 yards in the Big 10, its no wonder Coleman is not getting much hype. Gordon did, after all, get close to Barry Sanders’ college rushing record this season whereas Coleman barely got over 2000. Still though, Coleman proved his worth on the field.
Tevin Coleman’s talents make him an interesting pick this year. He has spent time as a kick returner at Indiana. He is a very accomplished running back, and he played receiver in high school showing that he does have hands as well. His is a fast power back who has had a few injuries that should make teams wonder if his style is too aggressive for his longevity.
Looking at Coleman a little more in depth, we see the ideal running back in terms of his size. He is 5’11 inches tall and weighs 206lbs. He is a north-south runner, meaning he will not dance in the backfield looking for a hole. He has a very explosive initial jump off the ball and he rockets into the second level. He has a very good change of direction cut and is violent as a runner. He does not go down easily and is a very willing blocker in the pass game. He gets up to speed very quickly, making his transition to the NFL look to be smooth.
Coleman’s weaknesses though also make teams worry about his transition to the NFL game. His only has one gear and that is full speed, so he will need to work on his patience. He plays a little higher that desired for the NFL level and he needs to work on his pass catching abilities. While he is a violent runner who never gives up, he rarely breaks tackles.
Scouts worry that Tevin Coleman may be best suited for a spread style offense because of his lack of tackle breaking ability and his inability to create his own rushing lanes. While that is a major concern, Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell improved his tackle breaking ability over the course of his career, even more so in Detroit. Coleman could very well do the same.
Looking at Coleman’s metrics, we see that he did not perform any combine drill other than the bench press. It was later reported that Coleman played with the equivalent of a turf toe injury. Due to that, he elected to let it heal and not do any drills. His bench press number from the combine was 22 which is solid for a running back. He did eject to run the 40 at his pro day and it paid off. He ran a 4.39 and 4.4 forty yard dash making him one of the faster running backs in the draft this year. With that combination of speed and his running style, if he can learn to break tackles he could be a force in the NFL.
Overall, I think the Lions like what they see in Coleman, especially since the running backs they brought in for visits are physical runners and not dancers. The problem is that they have needs on the offensive line and the defensive line, and they have a need at corner with Rashean Mathis aging. With all of those holes, it is hard to see them drafting Coleman in round 2 like they would need to in order to get him.