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Giants “kicking the tires” on Corey Coleman in hopes he can reach his potential

Giants hope he can move on from questions about his work ethic, attitude

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NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears
Corey Coleman (19) with the Bills.
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Coleman has gone from the 15th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns to being traded and then cut by two teams since August of this year, and now landing on the practice squad for the New York Giants.

So, why did the Giants take a flier on the 24-year-old Coleman?

“We brought him here because we feel like he’s got a future. He’s very talented, he’s fast, he’s a good receiver,” coach Pat Shurmur said. “He’s been a couple places already. We’re kicking the tires on him with the idea that he’s got a future.”

Coleman is now on his fourth organization in his third season, and his third since being traded by the Browns to the Buffalo Bills. He was quickly cut by both the Buffalo Bills, who traded a seventh-round pick for him, and the New England Patriots.

Here is a little of the explanation for why Coleman, who has 56 receptions in 19 games, has bounced around so much in recent months.

Mary Kay Cabot, Browns beat writer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

“The Browns didn’t like his work ethic or his attitude, and he also got in some trouble here that didn’t sit well. He never got charged, but was with his brother and his friend when they beat up a guy here in Cleveland and left him unconscious on a speed bump in Coleman’s apartment building garage. He also dropped a pass on the 2017 finale vs Pittsburgh that would’ve prevented 0-16.”

Coleman was cut by Buffalo less than a month after the Bills traded for him this summer. Bills’ GM Brandon Beane to The Athletic on why Coleman didn’t last in Buffalo:

“Corey, he tried hard. He really did. Where he came in to learn a new offense, he just didn’t jell. It’s one of those things you ask yourself, “Have we given this enough time?” The talent’s there. Anybody that’s been around the practice field, you see he has a skill set. But we just never were able to make it mesh on the field with him, and it’s a production business.

People think, “Oh, GMs love to protect their draft picks.” Well, if I’m protecting my draft picks, I gave a seventh-round pick for this guy and guaranteed some cash [$3.55 million for the 2018 season]. You don’t want to see that. But you’ve got to be true to who earned the spot, and we just felt in the limited time that we were still unsure it was going to work, and to kick someone else out that we knew would work or felt better about, we just didn’t feel that was right.

We talk about earning your spot. We just didn’t feel he’d done enough to earn it, and in fairness to Corey, it is hard to get here in August and learn an offense when you’re fighting for reps and haven’t practiced with any of these quarterbacks. That’s where I left myself late Friday night as I was debating this: “Am I being fair to Corey, and am I being fair to the team?” At the end of the day, I have to be fair to the team.”

Shurmur said the Giants are, obviously, aware of the issues Coleman has had.

“First of all we believe he’s a really fine player,” Shurmur said. “Based on what we’ve heard he’s moved on from those situations. Certainly guys have an opportunity to grow and we’re hopeful that he’s got a future here.”

When you are 1-5 with an offense struggling to get the ball down the field it’s hard to argue with taking a flier on a former first-round pick with 4.3 speed, especially when all it involves is using an easy-to-move-on-from practice squad spot.