Wide receiver Brandon Coleman could be latest Rutgers product to make mark with Patriots
|02.22.14 at 11:43 am ET|
INDIANAPOLIS — The Piscataway-to-Foxboro connection has produced several key players for the Patriots the last few seasons, and the latest could be wide receiver Brandon Coleman.
The 6-foot-6, 225-pound receiver finished his collegiate career at Rutgers with 20 touchdowns, tied for first in school history. In 39 career games (27 starts) at wide receiver, he had 94 receptions for 1,808 yards, and averaged 19.2 yards per reception in his career. As a result, he was the lone member of the Scarlet Knights to snag an invite to the NFL combine.
Coleman said he’s already had a chance to connect with several of his former Rutgers teammates — including defensive backs Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon, both of whom are now in New England — about what to expect at the combine, as well as the rest of the pre-draft process.
“They just told me to keep a smile on my face. They just said go out there and be yourself, and just let everything flow naturally,” said Coleman while meeting the media at the combine. “Just be myself. They’re going to love you for who you are — just sell yourself and you’re going to be fine.”
“They just told me that it can get crazy at times, and don’t let it get to my head. I haven’t quite been in a situation like this before, but I’ve been prepared. Rutgers has kind of guided me through this process before. I just have to go out there and be myself, and everything will take care of itself.”
While it’s debatable as to whether or not the Patriots would target another young receiver in the draft the year after they relied heavily on youngsters Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins, Coleman has a couple of things working in his favor when it comes to a possible connection with the Patriots: one, his Rutgers connection is an almost sure bet to at least land him on the Patriots radar. And two, his body type makes him an attractive candidate for a team that could be in the market for a bigger pass catcher.
For what it’s worth, he certainly sounds like someone who was tested as a collegian, both during games as well as during the week in practice.
“My difficult matchups were probably in practice with Logan Ryan and Marcus Cooper [now in Kansas City],” Coleman said. “Those were the best corners in our conference the last couple years, even though they weren’t there last year. But my best competition was in practice, which helped me be better [by] going against them, day-in and day-out.”
Currently projected to be a mid-round pick in a draft full of intriguing wide receiver prospects, Coleman has decided to leave Rutgers after three seasons because he “gave Rutgers all I had,” but was quick to add he’s on track to graduate next spring. Slowed by offseason knee surgery, he says now that’s all behind him, and he’s ready to make his mark at the NFL level.
“It’s feeling a lot better than it was this season,” Coleman said. “It wasn’t terrible, but at the same time, I wasn’t 100 percent. I feel fine, because I’m confident in myself that I’ve been training hard and rehabbing hard just to get back to where I was.”