Is Kurt Coleman Starter Material?

Posted: March 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Tags: , , | 12 Comments »

Kurt Coleman on the attack

Quintin Mikell has been the starting SS for the last 3 1/2 years.  Mikell has played well in that period and the Eagles would probably love to have him back for another year, maybe two.  The problem is that Mikell is an aging player.  He will seek a 3 or 4 year deal and good payday.  There is a lack of good Safeties in the NFL right now so some team will likely give him the contract he desires.  Mikell has to go to the highest bidder.  He isn’t a guy that has had a couple of big paydays already.  He was a UDFA that spent several years as a role player.  This is his one chance for a big contract (relatively speaking).

Assuming Mikell leaves, Kurt Coleman becomes the in-house favorite for the SS job.   The question is whether he’s good enough to start or if he’s ideally a role player.  I have been a Kurt Coleman fan since watching him prior to last year’s draft.  He then impressed me in the preseason games.  I felt the Eagles had found a good developmental prospect.

Coleman started a midseason game against the Skins in place of Nate Allen.  Kurt had 4 solo tackles and came up with his first NFL pick.  The INT wasn’t a lucky play.  He jumped a route and made a nice catch.  Coleman was solid in that game.  He then took over for Allen late in the year when Nate suffered a season-ending injury.  That only meant one start, vs MIN.  Coleman had 7 solo tackles and played well for most of the game.  He made one huge mistake and lost contain on a run play.  Adrian Peterson got outside and delivered a big play.  Coleman started in the Wildcard game and had 6 solo tackles.

After seeing his rookie year, I felt like Coleman had showed that he has starting ability.  He has solid man cover skills.  He is effective in zones.  Kurt can hit and tackle.  He plays smart.  Although he lacks ideal size, he is tough and plays bigger than he is.

While I like him as a future starter, I think that ideally Coleman would be a backup for now.  He has good instincts, but a player who lacks ideal size/speed might benefit from having a couple of years to learn the pro game.  Kurt has to be mentally sharp.  He has to anticipate plays.  The best way to do this is by combining instincts and experience.  Kurt needs to know his scheme inside-out and the opposing offense almost as well.  It is hard for a 2nd year player to do that.

I think Coleman can be an effective starter in 2010, but I anticipate the Eagles looking around for a SS in free agency (when/if that happens).  They aren’t going to break the bank on a guy like Eric Weddle, but look for a young starter that has good potential.  We know the Eagles love their bargains.  Some work, some don’t, but the Eagles love to roll the dice on ascending players.

Think of Coleman as the safety net at SS.  He can get the job done, but he’s not likely to be the top choice.  That’s probably fine with Kurt.  He slid all the way to the 7th round last year and had to prove to people he could play in the NFL.  He did just that and now has to prove that he is meant to be a starter.  I think he’ll play well when he does get on the field.  After all, you know the old saying, “Hell hath no fury like a scorned Safety”.

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My newest column is about how much I’m missing free agency.  Early March is normally one of my favorite times of the year because of all the NFL activity.  Now all I’m getting is legal briefs and court updates.  C’mon NFL/NFLPA…give me my offseason!