With limited weapons in the passing game, it was clear the Patriots would need to look elsewhere for help. That was especially the case after Riley McCarron’s release earlier this week following his muffed punt return in Sunday’s game. The team’s depth at the position was very thin as is, which signaled the Patriots would look to fill out their roster via the free-agent market, especially with three vacant spots on the roster.
On Tuesday, the Patriots added two new weapons in the passing game in Corey Coleman and Bennie Fowler, which instantly bolstered their receiving corps. Coleman is the more notable of the two, as the 24 year-old had plenty of potential before entering the league.
From injuries, a change of teams, drops, to mediocre quarterback play, Coleman has not been in the right situation to jump start his career thus far, despite being a first-round pick only two years ago. Now in New England, Coleman will get the opportunity to rejuvenate his career catching balls from Tom Brady; an ideal situation for any receiver.
Through 19 games in his short time in the league, Coleman has only been able to haul in 46 receptions for 718 yards and five touchdowns; all disappointing numbers for a receiver so highly regarded coming out of college. Despite his early struggles, Coleman is in line for plenty of work in the passing game, all depending on how fast he grasps the playbook.
Like most players joining a new team, there will be some early adjustments, which we can expect from the Baylor product. Multiple receivers have struggled comprehending the Patriots’ playbook (most recently Eric Decker), but Coleman is certainly worth the risk based on his talent. The Patriots currently lack a true deep threat, and if his talent is utilized correctly, Coleman could turn out to be a steal signing this early into the season.
There is always the chance Coleman doesn’t turn out to be a reliable option, but with a one year deal, there is still little risk the Patriots are taking. When healthy, he certainly has the talent to become a legitimate deep threat as he uses his speed to his advantage, which will be extremely valuable to the Patriots who are without their top receiver in Julian Edelman until Week 4.
It remains to be seen how the Patriots will utilize him this season within their offense, but one thing is clear. If Coleman could return to a similar version of what he was entering the league, the Patriots’ receiving corps will be one to reckon with this season. This all involves a lot of uncertainty, but in a good system now, Coleman can turn out to be quite the bargain.