Corey Coleman History Lesson

By Alan Satterlee, DFW Senior Writer and Co-Owner, @Speedkills_DFW


You would think being the number one overall rookie wide receiver selected would be a ticket to big-time production — and that may be true for Corey Coleman, who has made a strong first impression. It’s also true that, generally speaking, rookie receivers are making a more immediate NFL impact in recent history with college teams running more pro-style type offenses. Additionally, the Browns don’t have a whole lot else at receiver.

Looking at modern history would suggest that Coleman will finish with: 47 receptions, 688 yards and 4 TDs — that’s the historical average of all the number one overall wide receivers selected in the NFL over the prior decade (Coleman was the highest-drafted receiver this year at 15th overall) — see Table 1 below.

Table 1: Rookie Seasons of Number One Overall Drafted Receivers (2005-2015)

20053Braylon Edwards, Clev.325123
200625Santonio Holmes, Pitt.498243
20072Calvin Johnson, Det.487565
200833Donnie Avery, St.L.536743
20097Darrius Heyward-Bey, Oak.91241
201022Demaryius Thomas, Den.222832
20114A.J. Green, Cin.6510577
20125Justin Blackmon, Jac.648655
20138Tavon Austin, St.L.404186
20144Sammy Watkins, Buff.659826
20154Amari Cooper, Oak.7210706

Based on last year’s results, a 47/688/4 season for Coleman would translate to 139.8 PPR fantasy points — that would see Coleman at WR49, no doubt would be disappointing. I have Coleman currently projected for 57/830/6, a 30% better season than these recent averages, and a would-be 182.1 PPR point season (I have some rushing yards assumed for Coleman as well). This would have Coleman instead at WR35, or as a low-end #3 fantasy receiver this year which seems about right. The Browns may not have the best of offenses, but Coleman is nonetheless expected to be heavily-featured as a rookie and he should be the Browns number one receiver. DFW’s Rookie Profile on Corey Coleman is here — coming off a 73/1363/20 season as a redshirt junior last year at Baylor there’s a lot to be optimistic about for Coleman dynasty owners. Coleman took home the Biletnikoff Award last year fueled by an NCAA-best 20 receiving TDs. Coleman has indeed “lighting in a bottle speed” and was clocked with a 4.37 Forty-time at the Baylor Pro Day (Coleman had a strong Combine as well but he was still recovering from sports hernia surgery).

For you football buffs, here’s a quick recap of the last ten wide receivers selected first in the NFL draft -– generally speaking, the results are not that impressive.

FFWIMAGE-Browns2005: 1.03 WR Braylon Edwards (Cleveland)
Braylon Edwards
ended up being a huge dynasty tease, and no doubt set some dynasty teams back if you somehow had your initial dynasty draft after the 2007 season (or the two years prior). Edwards was the quintessential “3rd-year breakout” receiver. Edwards started with a reasonable, but slightly below-average, season of 32/512/3 as a rookie, to then record 61/884/6 in his second season, before then exploding in year three with 80/1289/16. After those 16 TDs, it was all down-hill (and hard) from there as Edwards barely matched that over the next five seasons before finding himself out of the league before he turned 30 years old. Edwards was part of the worst receiver draft classes ever — after Edwards, the first round also saw busts Troy Williamson (1.07), Mike Williams (1.10), Matt Jones (1.21) and Mark Clayton (1.22).


FFWIMAGE-Steelers2006: 1.25 WR Santonio Holmes (Pittsburgh)
Coming off the epic wide receiver bust class of 2005, NFL teams passed on wide receivers in 2006 until Pittsburgh was first to strike at pick 25. Like 2005, the 2006 class was downright epic bad — the next two receivers picked were Chad Jackson and Sinorice Moss. Holmes was a major contributor for the Steelers over four seasons and he was off his best season in 2009 (79/1248/5), but after multiple marijuana incidents and then getting clocked with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, the Steelers dumped Holmes on a dime for a 5th round pick. Holmes never came close to those totals again in four seasons as a Jet and one with the Bears (and Holmes was never the same after a Lis Franc injury in 2012).


FFWIMAGE-Lions2007: 1.02 WR Calvin Johnson (Detroit)
It’s still hard to believe it’s true but Megatron is no more. Many a Calvin dynasty owner was left holding the bag with his sudden retirement at age 30. Calvin was obviously a heck of a pick for the Lions at 1.02 — only JaMarcus Russell was drafted higher! The 2007 WR class include five other first round wide receivers: Ted Ginn, Dwayne Bowe, Robert Meachem, Craig Davis and Anthony Gonzalez.


FFWIMAGE-Rams2008: Pick 33 WR Donnie Avery (St. Louis)
You thought the 2005, 2006 and 2007 wide receiver draft classes were bad? In 2008, there wasn’t even a wide receiver selected in the 1st round. Ten receivers however went in the 2nd round starting with Avery, and generally speaking it was not pretty (and starting with Avery there). After two seasons the Rams had seen enough and cut him. Avery bounced around with three other teams over four seasons before he was released for the final time. That second round include names you may feel like you never even heard of or have long forgotten: Devin Thomas, James Hardy, Malcolm Kelly, Limas Sweed, Dexter Jackson.


FFWIMAGE-Raiders2009: 1.07 WR Darrius Heyward Bey (Oakland)
The 2009 class had its moments, but not too many from the first receiver selected that year: Darrius Heyward-Bey. Al Davis was smitten by the 4.30 time in the Forty at the Combine and it returned just 9 catches in his rookie season — DHB easily had the worst rookie season by the top wide receiver selected in a draft since 1997 (Ike Hilliard, and he was injured), even Kevin Dyson (1998) went for 22/263/2 in his rookie campaign and Charles Rodgers (2003) managed 22/243/3, those two being DHB-like bust number one overall wide receivers selected in a draft.


FFWIMAGE-Broncos2010: 1.22 WR Demaryius Thomas (Denver)
Demaryius came into his rookie season off a broken foot which forced him to miss the Combine and started his NFL career with a relatively quiet 22/283/2 rookie season and dampening the number one receiver drafted average. Thomas was joined by Dez Bryant as the dynamic stud duo drafted in the 1st round that year (the only two wide receivers drafted in the first round in 2010), Thomas at 1.22 and Bryant 1.24.


FFWIMAGE-Bengals2011: 1.04 WR A.J. Green (Cincinnati)
Whew what a draft class 2011 was: 1.01 Cam Newton, 1.02 Von Miller, 1.04 A.J. Green, 1.05 Patrick Peterson, 1.06 Julio Jones, and JJ Watt at 1.11 — there are many likely future Hall-of-Famers out of that bunch. Green was great from the get-go with touchdowns in his first two NFL games and finishing as WR17 as a rookie.


FFWIMAGE-Jags2012: 1.05 WR Justin Blackmon (Jacksonville)
What a huge bust sadly Justin Blackmon was in the NFL, and after such a tremendous start Blackmon(clearly Blackmon had WR1 NFL talent). After just 20 games (and they were 20 productive games, with 93 career receptions, 1,280 yards and 6 TDs) his career was over or so it would it seem at this point after having missed the past two seasons, after multiple arrests for DUI and marijuana possession. Blackmon is set to be sentenced in August for his April DUI charge (his third DUI to go along with one marijuana arrest which was while driving as well).


FFWIMAGE-Rams2013: 1.08 WR Tavon Austin (St. Louis)
St. Louis is one of many teams that have taken the first overall wide receiver in an NFL draft multiple times in recent history. Detroit did so with Charles Rogers in 2003 and Calvin Johnson in 2007. Cleveland has now with Braylon Edwards in 2005 and Corey Coleman this year. Oakland has two in Darrius Heywood-Bey and Amari Cooper. Cincinnati has two as well with A.J. Green and Peter Warrick 13 years prior in 2000. The now Los Angeles Rams top them all with three, Tavon Austin in 2013, Donnie Avery in 2008, and Torry Holt in 1999. They nailed a Hall of Famer in Holt, a bust in Avery, and Austin is somewhere stuck in the middle. Austin (25) though likely still has his best days ahead of him and was a bit of a unique weapon in the NFL last year with 473 yards and five TDs receiving with another 434 on the ground and four rushing TDs. Austin though was a bad pick for the Rams as DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen both went later.


FFWIMAGE-Bills2014: 1.04 WR Sammy Watkins (Buffalo)
Sammy Watkins leads what could be a legendary 1st-round wide receiver class as Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin were the five receivers drafted in the first round in 2014. Watkins just needs to stay healthy, and he’s recovering now from foot surgery in April from a stress fracture. Watkins finished last season absolutely on fire as the number four wide receiver over the final six weeks averaging 5.8 receptions and 113 yards receiving per game, with 6 TDs over these six games.


FFWIMAGE-Raiders2015: 1.04 WR Amari Cooper (Oakland)
All Amari Cooper did is finish his rookie campaign as WR21. Cooper’s 72/1070/6 season ranks up there with John Jefferson (1978), Randy Moss (1988), Terry Glenn (1996), Anquan Boldin (2003), A.J. Green (2011) and Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) as one of the best rookie wide receiver seasons in NFL history. It will be interesting to see how high Cooper climbs in dynasty rankings. He’s already WR7 on the DFW wide receiver dynasty rankings located here. Here’s an interesting statistic on Cooper — imagine if he is finally targeted on a pass inside the ten-yard-line. As a rookie, Cooper was the intended target on zero of 23 Raider pass attempts inside the ten-yard-line last year. Cooper came into the NFL off a record-setting season in 2014 at Alabama with 124 receptions, 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns, all school records (the 124 receptions were also an SEC record).