GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 25: Keon Coleman #4 of the Florida State Seminoles looks on during the first half of a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 25: Keon Coleman #4 of the Florida State Seminoles looks on during the first half of a game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Pre-Draft Red Flags Surfacing on Keon Coleman

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TALLAHASSEE, FL – NOVEMBER 11: Wide Receiver Keon Coleman #4 of the Florida State Seminoles looks on before the game against the Miami Hurricanes at Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium on November 11, 2023 in Tallahassee, Florida. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

I’ve now watched wide receiver Keon Coleman in 12 games over two seasons at two schools (Michigan State and FSU).

Draft Kings, The 33rd Team, NFL.com, Pro Football Network, Walter Football, CBS, NBC Sports Chicago, The Athletic, Bleacher Report, San Diego Union-Tribune, Fox Sports, SB Nation, Draftwire, Newsday, Barstool Sports, NY Post, USA Today, Pro Football Focus, Yahoo Sports, Sporting News, Fansided, and others have all put a first-round grade on Coleman (nflmockdraftdatabase.com).

But I just can not warm up to him on his game film…

Coleman looked anything but dominant at Michigan State and he only flashed a few dominant plays in eight games at FSU.

I need more than that.

I’m not into a few highlights, I studied his fuller body of work. For every great play, there was a rep where it looked like he should’ve made the grab but didn’t. For every time he was able to miraculously highpoint a pass, there was another time he couldn’t.

Inconsistent.

That’s the one word I would use to describe Coleman if I was sitting in the war room during pre-draft meetings on an NFL team.

It’s the worst word in the NFL. It’s like a swear word. Nothing gets a team beat faster than starters who are undependable.

That’s Coleman.

And nothing scares me more as an evaluator.

What does he do well?

Three things stand out.

– YAC (Yards After Catch)

– Ball instincts (sometimes)

– Return punts

His good contact balance serves him well on wide receiver bubble screens and when returning punts. Coleman is a lean, mean, muscle machine who isn’t easy to bring down once he has the ball in his hands.

Occasionally, he can also make a circus catch with great vision and his long arms.

What do I need to know about his negatives?

Coleman is nothing to write home about in terms of his speed. He has this methodical one-gear speed and lacks the afterburners (coveted second gear) deep. He gets by on the aforementioned positive traits.

He’s also inconsistent in catching the ball.

OH NO

That’s not so hot. He’s a wide receiver.

Here’s a look at his catch rate:

2021: 7 receptions on 9 targets (78%)

2022: 58 receptions on 93 targets (62%)

2023: 50 catches on 90 targets (56%)

That’s trending, but in the wrong direction.

Football isn’t his first love?

This is where Coleman loses me for good. He loved basketball more than football but chose to play football for the money (clip below). That’s sure what it sounds like.

HARD PASS.

When I was with the Jets, one of Head Coach Bill Parcells’ critical factors of scouting was, “Is football important to him?”

That was answered for us here:

#4 Keon Coleman 6-foot-4, 215 pounds

Daniel Kelly’s 2024 NFL Draft Grade: Third-Round (I wouldn’t select him)

Projected by 70.6% of the NFL Draft Community to be a first-round pick as of January 25, 2024 (nflmockdraftdatabase.com)

Keon Coleman Didn’t Look Dominant at Michigan State (4 games evaluated in 2022)

Game film reviewed (2023): LSU, Boston College, Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke, Miami, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech (click to view games watched to form this evaluation)

2022 (12 GP): 58 receptions for 798 yards (13.8 avg.), 7 TD, long of 51

2023 (12 GP): 50 receptions for 658 yards (13.2 avg.), 11 TD, long of 58

Comp: Poor Man’s Zay Flowers (2023: Ravens No. 22)

Note: Didn’t take over games on 2022 game film exposure at Michigan State.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report

A one-gear receiver who flashes but is inconsistent. Questionable motor. Lines up in the Slot or out wide. Above-average speed (not a burner). Rollercoaster game log production in 2023. Decreasing catch rate and production. Not fancy route running. Average release. Average change of direction. Fights through corners for route leverage. Instinctual ball skills, but loses concentration at times and doesn’t come through. More threatening in the short-to-intermediate route level. Excels at bubble screens and slants. Inconsistent high-pointing the ball (see Clemson, Boston College, Wake Forest, and Miami games). Above average catch radius. Concerns from the neck up. Good punt returner who finds daylight. Engaged as a blocker.

Final words

His NFL career will be a slow fade pattern.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mike Tannenbaum, and Dick Haley. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief for First Round Mock, contributes at Yardbarker, and has written for Sports Illustrated Lions, Jets, and 49ers, as well as a featured guest on ESPN Radio and Fox Sports Radio. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @firstroundmock.

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