The Cleveland Browns are banking on a breakout season from second-year wide receiver Corey Coleman. There’s really no other way to put it. Last year’s 15th-overall draft pick, the Baylor product had a truncated rookie season that was pockmarked by injuries before and during the year.
Though he missed six games in the middle of the season due to a broken hand that he suffered in practice, a meddlesome hamstring has been far more burdensome in the long run, a chronic issue that dates back to his college career.
A hamstring injury kept him out of extended periods of his rookie offseason, and he is currently recovering from yet another hamstring injury. The Browns are hoping that he will be up and running by the time that they are set to kick off training camp.
Despite the fact that he caught just 33 receptions for 413 yards and three touchdowns, and lost their most productive wide receiver from last season, Cleveland has done little to bolster the position beyond adding Kenny Britt to the mix, instead banking on return on their investments from last year when they drafted four wide receivers.
Wide receivers coach Al Saunders is frustrated with the injuries, but excited for the player that he knows that Coleman can be if given the opportunity. “I’m disappointed for him that he can’t continue to grow in the fundamentals and skills at his position”, he told reporters at the end of minicamp.
“He missed a significant amount of time last training camp”, he reminded of last year’s hamstring injury. “He was having a terrific OTA session and then he got hurt”. But, he said, “I’m sure that he’ll be back for training camp ready to go and he’s just got to get his hamstring stronger and get himself in shape”.
More importantly, he sees the growth when he has been given the chance to observe him on and off the field. “The way he understands the offense now is so much better than he did last year”, he told reporters. “He had a long way to go based on the college offense that he ran and the limited exposure he had to route adjustments and the different route trees, but he’s come a long way”.
For Coleman himself, he said that it was a frustrating experience. He suffered the hand injury early in the year, and by the time he returned, the Browns were already far on to another quarterback, one that he had seen very little if any practice time with.
Coupled with missing all the practices in between while sidelined with this or that ailment, throwing in yet another variable really made it difficult for the rookie to be productive, and he wasn’t. But he too has high expectations for his growth in year two.