NFL Draft Preview 2015: RB Tevin Coleman
The Sports Quotient’s annual Draft Preview series returns! Over the course of the 10 weeks leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft, we will take a look at the top NFL prospects at each position. This fifth week, the focus is on running backs. Our first rushing prospect is Tevin Coleman out of Indiana.
Coleman played at Indiana for three seasons and set a Hoosier team record for rushing yards in a season in his junior year (2,036). He finished his college career with 3,219 rushing yards, 28 rushing touchdowns and 383 receiving yards in 33 games. Coleman averaged an outstanding 7.1 yards per carry as a Hoosier, including 7.5 yards per carry in 2014 (good for seventh in the FBS and second among Power Five Conference players, behind Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon).
Coleman ran for 100 or more yards in 11 of 12 games in 2014. In four of those games, he ran for more than 200 yards, and in one, he topped 300 yards on the ground. He also had four multi-touchdown games in 2014, including two with three scores. Indiana played three ranked teams in 2014, and Coleman racked up a total of 492 yards and four touchdowns in these games, proving that he can compete against top-level talent. According to Sports Reference, Coleman did not fumble once in his college career.
Coleman is a fantastic north-south runner who does not dance around behind the line. He is agile and changes direction with ease. He often ducks his shoulder when finishing runs in order to pick up an extra yard or two. An incredible half of his 28 rushing touchdowns were of 43 or more yards, and eight were of 64 or more yards, according to NFL.com.
Watch Coleman find the hole against Ohio State and take it 90 yards, to the house:
Coleman’s reckless style of play must be eased in the NFL, lest his career end too soon. He is not as strong of a runner outside the tackles, and he is not too experienced as a receiver out of the backfield. In general though, Coleman is a great rushing prospect.
There is a good chance that Coleman is the third-best running back in the draft, behind Georgia’s Todd Gurley and Gordon. If he can temper his style of play for the NFL, Coleman can have a very successful pro career, especially if he can learn to be a better pass-catcher. He has the speed, agility and north-south running ability to make an immediate impact on any NFL roster.
Coleman’s best fit may not be too far from where he played college ball. The Indianapolis Colts are in dire need of a young running back for their power run offense, even after signing veteran Frank Gore to a three-year deal this offseason. Coleman has the violent kind of play that the Colts could really use between the tackles, and slotting him in behind Gore would give him a chance to learn from one of the best NFL power backs in recent memory. Andrew Luck and Coleman would be a formidable duo for years to come.