LSU’s Coleman proves he’s no safety
I get the thought process behind the idea that LSU linebacker Harry Coleman could end up moving back to safety in the NFL. However, I completely disagree with it. Coleman is a former safety who switched to linebacker last season to help the Tigers get their best athletes on the field. And while at linebacker, he proved he could be productive vs. SEC-caliber competition. But, at 6-1, 211 pounds, there are a ton of questions about the guy’s size and overall ability to play inside the box at the next level, and some think he would be better suited to shifting back to safety in the NFL.
Here’s my take:
1. If Coleman was such a good safety, why was he asked to move to OLB at LSU? I get that he’s a team player and wanted to do what was best for the program, but if he was such a standout at the spot, there’s no way the LSU coaching staff would have asked to him to move. So if he wasn’t able to consistently start at safety for LSU, how can he be expected to start there in the pros?
2. He isn’t gifted enough as a straight-line athlete to hold up in an NFL secondary. With a time in the mid-4.6 range, he showcased above-average speed at the NFL Combine for the linebacker position, but he’s not nearly fast enough to play in the deep half in the NFL.
3. Finally, he’s not overly fluid when asked to flip his hips, redirect and/or turn and run down the field. He struggled with his body control during position drills at the combine on Monday and was unable to consistently maintain his balance out of his breaks, even ending up on his butt once when trying to change directions. Plus, he has a tendency to drop the football and simply isn’t a guy you could trust to cover in space at the next level.
Coleman does have some linear range as a sideline-to-sideline linebacker, and I think he can definitely make a roster and help out as a special teams guy and nickel backer. Just don’t try to convince me that because he had one productive year at linebacker and is undersized that he now has the ability to move back to safety in the NFL and potentially develop into starter. It’s not going to happen.
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