After missing the playoffs for two straight years and a new head coach taking over, one of the issues the Atlanta Falcons will address in training camp is settling their running back situation, with rookie Tevin Coleman looking more and more likely to start over second-year back Devonta Freeman.
Coleman was a third round pick (75th overall) out of Indiana. During his last season with the Hoosiers he ran the ball 270 times for 2036 yards and 15 touchdowns. He’s 6’1, big and with excellent speed. If the Falcons wanted someone to carry a bulk of their offense and help ease things off of Matt Ryan, Coleman seems to be the right man for it.
However, Coleman, like a lot of rookies, has some things to improve on. Pick up blitzes and overall blocking is a concern, and he’s also not the most patient of runners, and with Atlanta having a zone-based rushing attack, that could be a problem. That’s where Freeman, entering his second season in the NFL, comes in.
Freeman played in 16 games last season but got a total of 95 touches, 65 of them rushing, to finish with a total of 473 yards from scrimmage. He’s small, fast but not an every-down kind of running back or player at all. However, he’s likely to see more action this season, but it’s going to be very surprising if he manages to be more involved in the running game than Coleman.