Continuing the countdown of the top 40 players on the Atlanta Falcons, let’s break down the 25th best player in running back Tevin Coleman.
To read about the methodology in how these rankings came about, you can click here.
Total Score: 51/100
Last year’s rank: N/A
Player Grade: 52/100
Teams he is starter: 5 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 5 out of 32
Teams he is role player: 28 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +3
Positional Bonus: +3
The Falcons want to be a more balanced rushing team in 2015 under new head coach Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and made the move to invest a third-round pick in last April’s draft on a running back in Coleman.
It was a major departure from the team’s offseasons in recent years, preferring to stick with aging veterans like Steven Jackson and Michael Turner the past three seasons. It’s probably no coincidence that over that span, the Falcons have featured one of the league’s worst rushing attacks.
But in 2015 the team plans to invest in fresher legs, spearheaded by Coleman’s selection in the draft. Coleman brings a very contrasting element to the Falcons offense than what Jackson did, thanks to the former’s ability to hit the home run.
Coleman led the nation in having the highest percentage of his 2,038 rushing yards at Indiana last season coming on breakaway runs. Coleman’s greatest assets are his speed and acceleration, which allow him to outrun angles and be a threat to score anytime he is able to get into space.
As Indiana’s most prominent offensive weapon, it’s a testament to Coleman’s ability that he esd so productive a year ago with defenses keying on him. The Falcons hope that Coleman could have a similar impact in Atlanta as they seek to become more balanced offensively. Eventually the Falcons are hopeful that NFL defenses will know that a run to Coleman is coming but will be powerless to stop it just like collegiate defenses.
The lingering question is whether or not Coleman will become that player this year or in the future. There are concerns that Coleman isn’t an ideal fit in the team’s new zone-blocking scheme due to subpar lateral agility and questionable patience when hitting the hole. But while Coleman didn’t play in a zone-blocking scheme at Indiana, they did run plays that were comparable to the stretches and slants that will likely be featured by the Falcons offense this year. But it does suggest there will be a learning curve for the rookie.
While Coleman gets his feet wet, he is likely to be utilized heavily as a rookie in Atlanta in a committee system with second-year rusher Devonta Freeman. But Coleman’s superior size and speed suggests that he possesses the potential to become the primary ballcarrier down the road in Atlanta. That might not occur in 2015, but the Falcons are optimistic that eventually they can turn Coleman into one of the league’s better running backs.