The Cleveland Browns have to be happy with what they are hearing from their first-round draft pick, wide receiver Corey Coleman—even if they might not necessarily be loving what they’re seeing from a physical conditioning standpoint.
According to Pat McManamon writing for ESPN, the Browns’ rookie wide receiver—one of four that they drafted, though by far the highest-pedigreed—geared himself up for the team’s rookie minicamp by turning to YouTube, and what he found there—probably what he was looking for—was a highlight reel of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown.
According to McManamon, Coleman said that he “admires” Brown, the seventh-year wide receiver who has earned All-Pro honors for three straight seasons, including two consecutive nods on the first-team All-Pro list. He also has a total of four Pro Bowl designations. “It really got me fired up”, the rookie said about watching some of Brown’s spectacular highlights.
It is a fitting player to draw his attention. Coleman himself has previously said that Brown is one of the players—as well as Ravens veteran Steve Smith—that he models his game after. During the pre-draft process, in fact, many scouts have compared him to Brown.
For example, Steve Muench of Scouts, Inc. writing on ESPN that he has a similar build and described him as “a big play threat with the burst to take the top off the coverage and threaten after the catch”. He concluded that “if Coleman develops as a route runner and becomes more of a consistent pass-catcher, this comparison won’t seem as aggressive as it might now”.
Of course, it is always a tall task as a scout to draw a comparison between an incoming college player to an established veteran at the top of the game, but eventually, some of those players—often not the ones to whom they were compared to the All-Pros—do ultimately step into the shoes of the great ones.
Before he ascends the ladder of greatness, however, he needs to satisfy the wishes of his head coach, Hue Jackson, who recently said after the start of the Brown’s aforementioned rookie minicamp that Coleman has “got to get in shape”. He went on to reaffirm that “he’s one of those guys that has to get in shape”, but added that “we’ll get him where he needs to be”.
If he hopes to emulate Brown on the field, he will have to start by emulating him off the field as well, where he has drawn a well-earned reputation of being the hardest-working player on the team, and probably one of the most dedicated players to his craft throughout the entire league.
It is his tireless work ethic, which allows him constantly to be in shape, and his continual drive to refine the fine details of his craft, that has allowed the former sixth-round draft pick to rise from the ranks of the unknown to become not only a household name, but a player who seems to be on the road to adding to the Steelers’ busts in Canton.