The Cleveland Browns used their first-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to select wide receiver Corey Coleman with the 15th-overall pick. That was after they traded down, twice. They held the second-overall draft pick, initially, which they traded to the Philadelphia Eagles to select quarterback Carson Wentz.
Even with the Eagles coming out of the 2017 season with its first and only Super Bowl, and with Wentz having played a key role in that season even though he was injured by the time the postseason rolled around, the Browns now believe they have figured out their own quarterback position with the additions of Tyrod Taylor and first-overall pick Baker Mayfield.
But Coleman is not going to be one of the top two targets for whoever is starting at quarterback. Those two targets will be Josh Gordon, who finally returned from suspension during the season in 2017, and Jarvis Landry, whom they acquired via trade this offseason.
And the 2016 first-round pick’s new offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, has warned him this offseason that he is in a make-or-break campaign in year three.
“He understands this is a big, big year in his career”, he told reporters of Coleman. “Year three is usually the make-or-break year of what kind of you’re going to be. I’ve made that clear to him. He understands it, and he’s working hard accordingly to try to be the best that he can be”.
Coleman has been running as the Browns’ number three receiver during OTAs and minicamp so far, but playing on the outside, with Landry kicking into the slot during three-receiver sets. According to Mary Kay Cabot, the plan was for rookie Antonio Calloway to share some of those number three snaps, but he has missed the past couple of weeks due to a groin injury.
To his credit, according to his wide receivers coach, Coleman has been doing all the right things so far. “He comes in early, he works hard, he’s taking notes”, he said. “He’s doing the little things, learning the route techniques, things of that nature, just doing the things that he does well and expound on that and tweaking some things. But mentally just being in there. He’s champing at the bit. He wants more, so it’s just progression each and every day”.
If Coleman can actually come close to living up to his draft status, and Calloway can develop into the player he should be capable of being, then the Brown really would legitimately have a fearsome group of wide receivers, even if they might come up short of being the best group in the league, as Gordon believes.
Cleveland will also have some stability, as they just signed Landry to a long-term contract, and still control Gordon for two more years as a third-year player. Coleman has two years left on his rookie contract and the fifth-year option, while Calloway, obviously, has four years on his rookie deal.