Coming into the new season, no rookie ball handler should be more electrifying to watch than Tevin Coleman. Drafted in the third round by the Atlanta Falcons, Coleman finds himself battling for touches. However, his lightning-quick speed should perch him atop the depth chart before season’s end.
Last year at Indiana, Coleman ran for 2,036 yards, only the third player in Big 10 history to do so. His breakaway speed meshed perfectly with the stretch-zone scheme utilized by the Hoosiers. This is the same set up new offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, plans to implement in Atlanta. This should translate into immediate success for the Atlanta offense and Coleman during his rookie campaign.
However, fantasy owners should keep in mind that Coleman is currently listed as second on the depth chart behind second-year back Devonta Freeman. Freeman was used sparingly during his rookie season recording 95 touches and two touchdowns. Freeman’s small frame (5-foot-8, 205-pounds) might make him a change-of-pace scat back, but there’s no questioning his superior pass-catching skills.
Coleman has the size and speed to be the workhorse out of the two, but his biggest knock is his lack of patience and vision.
“Coleman treats every carry like a sprint,” one NFL scout said. “He is a race car in the red.” That can attest to why half of Coleman’s 28 career rushing touchdowns were of 43-plus yards, including eight of 64-plus yards. However, run plays need time to develop, and timing miscues translate into loss of yardage.
For now, Coleman is worth a bench spot on any fantasy team. The opportunity is there for Coleman to become a starter before the regular season begins. Once Coleman develops patience, the starting gig is his, and he’ll set the league ablaze.