Pre-season Scouting Report:
Size: Coleman absolutely has NFL size. He is listed at 6’5”, 220 pounds which is great height, and he could very easily add 10 pounds or so to that frame. He should have no problem seeing over his offensive linemen which will help him find throwing lanes.
Arm Strength: Coleman has very rare arm strength. He doesn’t have a howitzer like Ryan Mallett, but he has the ability to make every NFL throw with relative ease. I have seen him make multiple throws downfield from the right hash to the far left sideline (and left has to far right sideline) with good zip and perfect ball placement. He absolutely has a NFL arm.
Accuracy: Coleman has quality accuracy. Occasionally he will miss high or wide, but overall I was impressed with his accuracy. He is very accurate on short and medium throws, but his accuracy is not elite on long throws. It is good, but not great. He is quite consistent with his ball placement and timing on his throws, though occasionally his timing will be off and it will result in an inaccurate throw even if it is placed correctly in the hole in the zone. Overall I was impressed with his accuracy.
Mechanics: Coleman seems to have good mechanics. He lines up in shotgun but also lines up a lot from under center, frequently performing three step drops and releasing the ball upon finishing his drop on a quick slant or out route. He also frequently performs play action fakes and while he could stand to improve his fakes overall he does a good job faking like the running back is getting the ball. Chattanooga uses play action fakes quite frequently in the games that I watched even when the running game really isn’t effectively gaining yards, so sometimes that limits the effectiveness of the play-call. His footwork is sound and he regularly steps into his throws which helps explain his impressive zip, and his throwing motion is clean and he has a quick release. He also does a good job of resetting his feet after moving in the pocket or completing a play action fake which is good to see. He also has a very impressive pump fake which he used a number of times to get defenders to jump into the air, giving him more time to find somewhere to go with the ball. Overall I was impressed with his mechanics.
Mobility: Coleman has some mobility but he is by no means a scrambler, he is definitely a pocket passer. He has enough mobility to correctly run bootlegs or rollouts but he won’t dance around in the pocket or leave the pocket prematurely to extend the play or to scramble for yards with his legs under almost any circumstance. He can extend plays with his legs when he has to, but not for very long because he isn’t very fast and can’t out run many defensive ends that I saw him play against.
Pre/Post Snap Reads: Coleman could probably use some work on reading the defense. Usually he does a great job and frequently finds the open receiver. Often times the offense he runs helps with this as he will be throwing a quick slant or an out route and won’t have to read the defense, rather he will just execute his drop and release the ball for a pretty easy completion. He does read the defense well other times, but he really needs to improve on using his eyes to deceive the defenders instead of staring down his intended receiver at times and allowing any defender reading his eyes to jump the route and make a play on the ball. This happened a few times in the games I watched of him and it was some cause for concern. I’m not sure he does a great job before the snap either as he seemed surprised by some blitzes, particularly from the cornerback position a few times. Overall I think he has the ability to read defenses, but this is one area that I think he could benefit from more study, particularly film study or working with his position coach to get a better feel for this aspect of the game. He shows promise in this area, but he stared down too many receivers for me to say that he does a good or great job reading defenses.
Intangibles: Coleman impressed me with his intangibles because he doesn’t seem to have any problem recovering from an interception. In one of the games I watched him in against Furman I believe he threw four interceptions and was eventually losing 28-10 for the majority of the game. The first interception he threw was deflected into the air and intercepted by a defensive back and promptly returned for a touchdown. The next two interceptions resulted from him throwing a great pass to one of his receivers after which they let the ball bounce right off their hands and into a defender’s lap for an easy turnover. The final interception he threw was a stupid throw when he just floated the ball into the end zone when they were inside the 10 yard line and a safety easily ran under it for another interception. But despite all of these turnovers he continued to throw with great confidence into relatively tight windows and continued to sustain impressive drives with key 3rd down conversions. He regularly played his best on 3rd down and in pressure situations, and this was illustrated very nicely when he led a furious comeback down 28-10 at the start of the 4th quarter. Chattanooga went on to score 26 points in the final 15 minutes of the game and they ended up winning 36-28 in no small part because of Coleman’s passing that allowed them to sustain drives. He finally stretched the defense so much with the pass that the running game opened up and they were finally able to gain some yardage with their ground game which had been all but shut down for the previous three quarters, partially because they were not running effectively and partially because they were down by too many points to be able to stick with the run. Coleman threw the touchdown that gave Chattanooga a 29-28 lead and capped an amazing comeback that reminded me a lot of Idaho’s comeback win led by Nathan Enderle during his junior season against Bowling Green in Idaho’s bowl game. Coleman had every reason to be discouraged, whether it was his high interception total, his receivers frequently dropping passes, or his defense giving up a lot of points and putting the offense in a hole. But he seemed to keep his composure and never looked rattled, and the next thing I knew he and his team had claimed the lead after Coleman sustained drive after drive. I don’t know him personally and I haven’t been able to find anything about his command of the huddle, etc. but leading a comeback like that certainly speaks to some level of intangibles.
Character: I don’t know much about Coleman’s character, just like I don’t know an awful lot about his intangibles, but he didn’t seem frustrated or angry with his supporting cast even though for three quarters they were letting him down and even causing unforced turnovers to occur. I believe Chattanooga turned the ball over at least 6 times which helped Furman build their lead in that specific game, but despite that he still remained calm and continued to play just as he did at the beginning of the game when it was well within reach, and that speaks towards his character. He did transfer from Tennessee so I’m sure people will question how good he could really be if he couldn’t beat out Crompton back when he was a Volunteer, but I don’t think that is a character question mark to be honest.
Overall: I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with what I saw of Coleman and he is definitely my guy for the 2011 season much like Nathan Enderle was last year. I am still a big Nathan Enderle fan today and even got to meet him when I was at the East-West Shrine Game which was a cool feeling, because had I not written a scouting report on him last summer (which turned out to be one of my most popular posts ever for a long while) I probably would not have ended up in Orlando at all for that week of practices. It was a special moment for me as a talent evaluator. Anyways, Coleman showed very impressive arm strength, consistent accuracy, quality mechanics and impressive intangibles in the film I was able to watch of him and that all impressed me so much that I can’t wait to watch as much of him as I can next season. Ironically he plays Nebraska in week one next year, which is another similarity he and Enderle share, as Enderle’s Idaho Vandals squared off against the Cornhuskers early in the 2010 season last year. I can’t wait to see more of Coleman and I look forward to learning more about him, and if he plays as well this year as I think he will then I very much look forward to meeting him and shaking his hand at the East-West Shrine Game or, if he really does well, the Senior Bowl.
Thanks for reading my scouting report on B.J. Coleman! He is a small school guy with NFL talent, so be sure to keep an eye on him next year. Hopefully he starts to get the recognition his talent and production warrants in the coming months. Keep checking in frequently because I will be watching film more and more consistently as the summer rolls along. Thanks again!