Browns need Corey Coleman to become Mr. Available

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 18: Corey Coleman /

The Cleveland Browns need wide receiver Corey Coleman to be available and everything else may take care of itself.

It is fair to say that Corey Coleman’s career has not gotten off to the way he or the Cleveland Browns had hoped for.

Coleman was Cleveland’s No. 1 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft after he won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’’s top receiver by leading the nation with 20 touchdown receptions. He was a unanimous All-American and first-team all-conference selection after catching 74 passes for 1,363 yards his final year with Baylor.

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Hamstring woes slowed Coleman in training camp, and missing practice time was vital as Coleman was learning the complexities of an NFL offense after running a limited route tree in college.

He flashed his big-play potential in a Week 2 game against the Baltimore Ravens, catching five passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns. But just when it looked like he was figuring things out, Coleman suffered a broken hand in practice and would up missing six games.

Once he returned, his production suffered as he played the final few weeks of the season with an ineffective Robert Griffin III at quarterback. Overall, Coleman finished his rookie year with 33 receptions for 419 yards and three touchdowns.

It has been more of the same so far this year, as Coleman was limited in Organized Team Activities and veteran minicamp with more hamstring issues and after suffering an injury while making a catch.

Despite all that, senior offensive assistant Al Saunders is still confident that Coleman can be a difference maker on the field, according to

"“The way that he prepared, the way that he understand the offense so much better now than he did last year when he first came in, and we all know that Corey had a long way to go. He had a long way to go based on the college offense that he ran and the limited exposure he had, the route adjustments and the different route trees. He has come a long way.”"

The biggest obstacle that Coleman has to overcome? Just be there when it is game time, Saunders told the team’s website:

"“He just has to be able to stay healthy and be available. We tell all of the guys, you want to be a member of the ‘-able family’ – dependable, reliable, accountable, but most of all, available. That is the most important. If you are available and you can practice, then you get that.”"

Cleveland’s current group of wide receivers is not going to make anyone forget the late 1980s trio of Webster Slaughter, Reggie Langhorne and Brian Brennan, but they may end up being better than they are getting credit for.

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It all starts with Coleman, however, who has the most potential of the group.

All it may take is for Coleman to be available on a regular basis.