WACO, Texas -- Corey Coleman is the best wide receiver in this year’s draft, according to Corey Coleman. He was more certain of that than ever Wednesday after his performance at Baylor’s pro day.
“It’s important for me to be the best receiver,” Coleman said.
He took a critical step toward proving that Wednesday, running an unofficial times of 4.41 and 4.37 seconds in his first 40-yard dash since undergoing sports hernia surgery in late December. That 40 time was one of the few unanswered questions left for the prolific Biletnikoff Award winner during this draft process.
“They’re really good guys. Happy for them and their success,” Coleman said. “They’ve done a great job to put themselves at the top with me. Now it’s time for April to see where everyone ends up.”
He believes he’s No. 1 because he can do pretty much everything as an outside receiver, inside receiver and returner. He proved that during his 20-touchdown junior season. To Baylor coach Art Briles, drafting Coleman first among those elite wideouts is a no-brainer.
“Of course I do. Yeah, that’s an easy answer,” Briles said. “You look at production on the field over a three-year period. We’re not talking 18 months; we’re talking three years. His production has been pretty much unmatched over the last three years.”
One concern Briles’ prized wideout heard about during some of his combine interviews: Baylor’s offensive system. Coleman said he’s debunked any fears that the system didn’t effectively prepare him for an NFL passing game.
“I explained it to them. I think I did a pretty good job,” he said. “I learned everything I need to learn. If you’re a receiver and you don’t know how to run routes at this level, I don’t know what to tell you. I think I proved to them that I can run NFL routes.”
One big surprise from his workout: Coleman revealed the sports hernia he suffered in November occurred while he was practicing to make a cameo at cornerback against Oklahoma. Baylor coaches actually planned to send Coleman in on third downs to help cover Sterling Shepard.
But he got hurt while picking off a pass during practice, an injury that bothered him during his final four games (16 catches, 185 yards, no TDs) and forced him to miss Baylor’s bowl victory.
As painful as that setback might have been, it’s further proof of his competitive fire. The best receiver in college football wants to try playing both ways in the biggest game of the year? Briles says that’s the kind of guy an NFL team is getting in Coleman.
“He’s a very determined-minded young man, which is pretty uncommon today, unfortunately,” Briles said. “He had a goal, he had a plan and he knew how to follow through with discipline on and off the field. That’s why he’s where he’s at today.”
More takeaways from the Baylor pro day, which was attended by Texans coach Bill O'Brien, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and 55 other scouts representing all 32 NFL organizations:
Defensive tackle Andrew Billings said there’s no way he was going to settle for the 5.05-second 40 time he ran at the combine. So he ran again on Wednesday and clocked an unofficial time of 4.92 seconds. Billings came out of his pro day feeling confident he’ll be a first-round pick, and even said he’s been invited to Chicago for the draft.
Xavien Howard improved his 40 time and his draft stock on Wednesday. The cornerback says he got a fourth-round or fifth-round grade at the end of his junior season, but he still elected to enter the draft. He hopes running an unofficial 40 time of 4.41 seconds (down from 4.58 in Indy) will get scouts’ attention. “I want to play cornerback,” Howard said, “but I’m hearing a little bit safety and a little bit nickel.”
Offensive tackle Spencer Drango said he’s been told he could be picked anywhere from the late second round to the fifth round. He met with the Patriots this week and is meeting with the Texans next week. He said most teams are still talking to him about playing tackle, though he’s open to a move inside, if necessary.