2019 Season Rewind
Corey Coleman's 2019 season ended on July 26. During the team's first training camp practice, he suffered a torn ACL. The 2016 first-round pick underwent surgery in August and spent the rest of the year rehabbing, hoping to get another chance.
By mid-December, Coleman was able to run again as he made progress in his rehab. But by then, the Giants were already 2-11, and Coleman was closing in on the end of his contract with the Giants, with only five catches to his name over the last two seasons.
As the 15th overall pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2016, Coleman's NFL stock has tumbled every season since coming into the league. After missing 17 combined games to injury in 2016 and 2017, he was traded to Buffalo in August of 2018. Then, Coleman was cut by the Bills and then signed by New England only to get released six days later.
Coleman joined the Giants in October 2018 and only recorded five catches for 71 yards in eight games, but did carve a role as the team's primary kick returner. The Giants saw enough from Coleman to retain him on a $2 million tender, but rather than build on the promise he showed in 2018, the injury happened.
Fortunately for Coleman, he's getting another chance with the Giants, who like his speed and big-play potential. Coleman signed a one-year $1.1 million deal on March 30, a deal that could be his last chance to fulfill his NFL potential.
Coleman's biggest challenge is going to be not losing any speed or quickness following ACL surgery. The good news is that by the time the season starts, he'll be over a year removed from his surgery, with a chance to not only compete as a kick-off returner but also to nail down a potential spot as the No. 4 receiver on the depth chart.
Coleman's skillset, pre-injury, makes him an ideal fit for what new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is believed to be looking to run. Besides being a deep-threat receiver with a sudden second gear, Coleman has shown himself capable of separation at the last minute down the field, timing his separation to coincide with the arrival of the ball.
He also adjusts well to off-target balls, gets in and out of his breaks quickly, and offers a quick release of the line of scrimmage. Another underrated part of Coleman's game is his ability to keep his feet in bounds when working along the sidelines, a trait in which he has shown pretty good balance.
All of that was before the injury. If he can demonstrate that same proficiency and, most importantly, show that he's grasped the new playbook, there will more than likely be a role for him on this team beyond that of a kick-off returner.
Speaking of which, don't be surprised if Coleman is in the mix for the kick-off returner role, a role in which he thrived in 2018 when he averaged 26 yards per kick return, including a 51-yard return against the 49ers.
Coleman's biggest competitors for the primary kick-off returner role are cornerback Corey Ballentine and wide receiver Darius Slayton. However, Ballentine and Slayton projected to have bigger roles on the Giants' defense and offense, respectively, that could cut down on the competition.
Coleman is a low-risk effective kick returner, a skill that could be foretold by his 4.39-second 40-yard dash time at the 2016 NFL Combine. But again, the effects of his injury and surgery on his speed won't be known until the Giants hit the practice field.