The second day of the 2015 NFL Draft brought more size and speed to the Falcons’ roster, including LSU cornerback Jalen Collins and Indiana running back Tevin Coleman.
When it came time for Atlanta to use its second-round pick (42nd overall) Friday night, the team’s brass saw the type of cornerback Falcons head coach Dan Quinn loves, long, fast and physical. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound defensive star, who totaled 38 tackles and a team-high nine pass breakups for the Tigers in 2014, is a lifelong Falcons fan, ready to bring his style of play to the team.
“I’m a big corner that likes to hit people,” Collins said. “I like to jam receivers up. I’m physical, and that’s been my nature since I was knee-high. Coming from the SEC, LSU, playing physical is all I know.”
One round later, Quinn’s offense added more explosiveness and depth at running back, selecting Coleman with the 73rd-overall pick of the draft. In 2014, the 6-foot-1, 210-pound running back became the 18th player in FBS history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in one season, finishing with 2,036 in his final year on campus.
Coleman said he was praying to be selected by the Falcons and is ready to gel with his new teammates and help accomplish the team-wide goal of winning a Super Bowl. During a previous visit with the Falcons, Coleman liked the feel and potential fit with the team, including the scheme of Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
“I’m an all-down back,” Coleman said. “My style is everything. I can do everything on the field. I can run an inside zone, an outside zone, pass protection, catching the ball, I can basically do it all, and that’s what they were looking for.”
So as the clock ticked by 11:30 p.m. ET on Friday, the first two days of the three-day draft came and went, providing the Falcons more opportunities to improve on both sides of the ball. Quinn was very pleased with each of his new players, citing Collins’ length and speed and Coleman’s grit, leaving Dimitroff to summarize the team’s efforts in the draft so far, with one more day to go on Saturday.
“We feel that we’ve added two very good defensive players that are going to, again, most importantly, fit into Dan’s scheme and his defensive coaches’ scheme and the approach,” Dimitroff said of top-pick Vic Beasley and Collins. “They’re long. They’re fast. They’re aggressive. They’re very athletic, and then in the third round to be able to pull off a running back is going to be very helpful for this offense to continue to evolve into what we believe it can be.”