Veteran Steven Jackson was unable to kickstart a stagnant Atlanta run game. Former Indiana star Tevin Coleman will get the same shot in 2015, but with the added bonus of Kyle Shanahan calling plays for him as offensive coordinator. Shanahan has a proven track record of facilitating a strong rushing attack—the Alfred Morris-led Washington group led the league in 2012. In Coleman, Shanahan has himself a player capable of taking any handoff to the house. Coleman is a bit of a grinder until he finds the open field, which leads to a lot of small and intermediate gains. If he gets loose beyond the line, though, he often does not stop until he crosses the goal line. Add in some pass-blocking and receiving skills, and Coleman makes for a really solid Round 3 find.
Strengths: Has the smooth speed and agility to bounce outside the tackles and to the boundary quickly, keeping his eyes and shoulders front. Great jump-cut runner who can fake defenders out in space. Has that "extra gear" and knows how to use it -- average distance per touchdown in 2014 was 40.3 yards and led the NCAA with eight 60-plus-yard runs. Outstanding instincts and agility in space -- legitimate threat to score whenever he gets to the open field. Excellent receiver who can push the edge in screens, but also has the potential to take the ball upfield. Surprisingly willing and effective blocker for his frame. Dynamic ability in the return game. Will likely be more effective in an offense that features more variety and position versatility. Hard-working, high-character player who earns praise from his coaches.
Weaknesses: Thin body with some room for more muscle, but not an inside power guy. Can explode through gaps when they're there, but isn't a creator when things are limited between the tackles. Doesn't break through first contact consistently. Susceptible to arm- and ankle-tackles. Partially a technique issue -- he runs too high and doesn't maximize his physical strength. Must learn to better read openings and avoid hurrying to gaps before they exist. Needs to work his open-field elusiveness into his game at and near the line of scrimmage.
Player comparison: Chris Johnson