Keon Coleman

AFC East Notes: Allen, Bills, Coleman, Staff, Washington, Jets, Patriots, Slater, Dolphins

Having traded Stefon Diggs weeks after letting Gabe Davis walk in free agency, the Bills are facing questions about their receiving corps. The team’s top offseason investment at the position — No. 33 overall pick Keon Coleman — encouraged Josh Allen. Bills GM Brandon Beane said during a Sirius XM Radio appearance he had Allen join coaches in watching some film of receiver prospects. Coleman was among the candidates the superstar passer preferred, expressing his approval after being informed on Day 2 of the draft the Bills would go with the Florida State wideout. Although Coleman did not produce an 800-yard receiving season with the Seminoles, the Bills look set to count on the 6-foot-4 pass catcher as they remake their receiving corps.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The Jets have moved on from one of the better-known members of their coaching staff. Leon Washington, who had been in place as assistant special teams coach in each of Robert Saleh‘s three seasons, did not see his contract renewed for the 2024 season, per the New York Post’s Brian Costello. This marked the former Jets kick returner/running back’s first full-time coaching gig, after a run of fellowships since his playing career ended after the 2014 season. A Jets contributor from 2006-09, Washington earned All-Pro honors in 2008. Earlier this offseason, the Jets lost special teams assistant Michael Ghobrial to the Giants. Dan Shamash, who helps advise Saleh in terms of game management, is now listed as an ST assistant for the team. Brant Boyer remains in place as the team’s ST coordinator.
  • Rome Odunze may well have been the Jets’ preference at No. 10, but after the Bears went with the Washington wideout at 9, the team was set on Penn State tackle Olu Fashanu. The Jets were also high on Washington tackle Troy Fautanu, according to ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler, but the team carried some long-term durability concerns about the Pac-12 blocker. Two other tackles — Taliese Fuaga (Saints) and Amarius Mims (Bengals) — went off the board before Fautanu, who slid to the Steelers at No. 20. Some teams flagged Fautanu’s knee as a medical concern, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes. It appears the Jets were one of them.
  • Odell Beckham Jr.‘s Dolphins contract includes a void year, which will drop his cap number by a bit. The new Miami WR3 will count $2.1MM on the team’s 2024 cap, per OverTheCap. Beckham signed a one-year, $3MM deal with the Dolphins; the team will take on a $900K dead money charge in 2025 if OBJ is not re-signed by the 2025 league year.
  • The Bills have either decided on their defensive play-caller, only to not reveal the choice publicly, or they are still in the process of determining who will call the signals come September. Sean McDermott said (via the Buffalo News’ Jay Skurski) he is delaying this decision until at least training camp. McDermott called plays last season, with the Bills having moved on from longtime defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, but the Bills now have a DC again in Bobby Babich. The Bills have been a top-five defense in each of the past three seasons, though their units — as key injuries hit in each season — have struggled in the playoffs.
  • Matthew Slater‘s immediate transition to coaching will come in a full-time role, according to ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss. The perennial Pro Bowl special-teamer is working as a “right-hand man” to Jerod Mayo, with Reiss noting the new Patriots HC is receiving input from his former teammate regarding team-building and character development. Slater, 38, spent 16 seasons with the Patriots, coming into the league in the same 2008 draft class Mayo did.
  • Staying with that 2008 draft class, one of its members recently landed a scouting gig. The Dolphins hired Beau Bell as a pro scout, according to InsidetheLeague.com’s Neil Stratton. A 2008 fourth-round Browns draftee, Bell only played five NFL games. He will make the move to a full-time role after receiving an apprentice opportunity with the Rams and serving as GM of the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul.

Bills Draft WR Keon Coleman To Open 2nd Round

The Bills traded back twice last night, eventually falling out of the first round. Still, with the first pick of the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, Buffalo hits on a position of need, drafting Florida State wide receiver Keon Coleman.

Coleman was one of college football’s top transfer targets after a strong sophomore season at Michigan State in which he caught 58 balls for 798 yards and seven touchdowns. In Tallahassee, he failed to eclipse the yardage he’d had as a Spartan, but he still led the Seminoles in receptions (50), receiving yards (658), and receiving touchdowns (11).

[RELATED: Bills Interested In 49ers’ Deebo Samuel]

It was expected that Coleman would put up bigger numbers on an offense that went undefeated in the regular season and ranked 19th in the country in points per game, but his 11 scores demonstrate exactly the type of receiver he’s expected to be in the NFL.

In Buffalo, Coleman faces a tall task, filling the shoes of the departed Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis. The team returns Khalil Shakir and brought in Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins, but as an early second-round pick, Coleman will be expected to step up as a key weapon for a Bills team that may not be done augmenting its WR corps this offseason.

Despite his inability to produce big yardage numbers at Michigan State and Florida State, Coleman was an outstanding redzone target. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Coleman establishes a daunting presence that the AFC’s best will have to counter.

Bills, Patriots, Cardinals Receiving Trade Calls

Like always, the teams at the top of the Day 2 draft order hold considerable leverage. In the case of 2024, that means the Bills are a team to watch closely as the start of second round approaches.

After trading down twice on Thursday, Buffalo owns pick No. 33. To little surprise, that has resulted in calls from suitors looking to move up the board, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Receiver is a position of need and despite the run at the position late last night, a number of notable options are still on the board. That includes Texas’ Adonai Mitchell and Florida State’s Keon Coleman. Those pass-catchers are the two being considered by Buffalo, Sportkeeda’s Tony Pauline reports.

The latter does add, however, that the Bills have other receiver prospects they are comfortable with, meaning a third trade-down agreement could be worked out by general manager Brandon Beane. Teams eyeing some of the defensive prospects surprisingly still available could represent a logical trade partner. In that case, the Patriots (No. 34) and Cardinals (No. 35) would be worth monitoring.

Both New England and Arizona have also received interest, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated notes. He, too, mentions Coleman as a prospect likely to hear his name called in short order. The Michigan State transfer had a strong Seminoles career, but his underwhelming 40-yard dash time at the Combine could help explain his stock taking a slight dip. He will nevertheless provide considerable size (6-3, 213 pounds) to his new team.

The Patriots turned aside overtures from the Giants and Vikings for the third overall pick last night. That cleared the way for Drake Maye to be selected, a move which leaves receiver as a position of need entering Day 2. The Cardinals likewise decided against moving down the board and drafted Marvin Harrison Jr. at No. 4. The team followed that up by adding edge rusher Darius Robinson 27th overall, filling another notable roster hole. Either staying in place again or adding extra capital would prove beneficial, so it will be interesting to see how many pick swaps take place at the top of the round two order.

Latest On Teams Targeting WRs In First Round

We know that the Steelers have been identified as a team that could be likely to trade for a veteran wide receiver this offseason, but what about teams looking for wide receivers in the first round? A lot of focus has been placed on teams looking to draft quarterbacks, per usual, but Jason La Canfora of The Washington Post provided us with the names of a few teams targeting pass-catchers on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft. La Canfora identifies the Cardinals, Bears, Colts, Bills, 49ers, and Chiefs as the likely suspects.

Some of these, we’ve heard plenty about already. At No. 4 overall, the Cardinals sit in the line of picks that are all expected to be quarterbacks, according to most mock drafts, meaning they are expected to trade down from the position. Many see them trading back to No. 6, allowing the Giants to select Daniel Jones‘ potential replacement. This would leave them in line to draft the class’s top receiver prospect, Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. This could provide Arizona with a new top receiver after the departure of Marquise Brown to Kansas City.

This would require the Chargers to pass on wide receiver, a huge position of need after watching both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams depart this offseason. While it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Los Angeles select Harrison, new general manager Joe Hortiz (from Baltimore) has shown an affinity for Notre Dame prospects like Ronnie Stanley and Kyle Hamilton. Combine that with the addition of new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and connections to Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt make all the sense in the world. Roman’s run-heavy offensive mentality makes tackle a bigger priority than receiver in the first round.

Wide receiver has been seen as less of a priority for the Bears after they acquired Allen in a trade from the Chargers. Still, drafting a top receiver prospect like LSU’s Malik Nabers or Washington’s Rome Odunze could give projected new quarterback Caleb Williams a strong trio of targets with Allen and D.J. Moore. Chicago could pair the draft’s QB1 with a potential WR1 as ESPN’s Matt Miller tells us that there are some teams in the NFL who see Nabers and Odunze as better prospects than Harrison. The three receivers are closer than people may think on most draft boards and their order of preference could come down to scheme and fit.

In Indianapolis, the Colts would love to bring in a first-round receiver for second-year quarterback Anthony Richardson. Josh Downs and Alec Pierce were decent options behind Michael Pittman Jr., but having a true weapon across the field could really help both Richardson and Pittman. If Harrison, Nabers, and Odunze find their way off the board by the time the Colts select at No. 15, LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. could fall into their lap, though Odunze could still be available if nobody takes a flyer on him as the best player available regardless of position.

At the back end of the first round, wide receiver has become a big need for the Bills after they watched Gabriel Davis depart in free agency and traded away Stefon Diggs to the Texans. Khalil Shakir now leads the position room, and though the top four receivers aren’t expected to be available by the 28th pick, pairing Shakir with Texas’ Adonai Mitchell, FSU’s Keon Coleman, or Florida’s Ricky Pearsall could be productive.

As for the 49ers and Chiefs in the last two picks of the draft, San Francisco is a bit of surprise inclusion after recently paying Deebo Samuel and still currently denying that Brandon Aiyuk is available via trade. Still, if Aiyuk is potentially on the way out, taking flyer on Mitchell, Coleman, or Pearsall could work out.

As for Kansas City, they’ve tried their fair share of veteran free agent additions for Patrick Mahomes, and will do so again with the addition of Brown this offseason, as well as some draft picks in the second round or later. We’ve seen the Chiefs have success with smaller wide receivers with speed, so bringing in Georgia’s Ladd McConkey, Michigan’s Roman Wilson, or Texas’ Xavier Worthy could make a lot of sense.

Whoever doesn’t hear their name called on the first night of the draft shouldn’t have to wait too long. Dane Brugler of The Athletic’s latest mock draft showed the Panthers selecting McConkey with their first pick of the draft, which will be the first pick of the second round. If McConkey is already off the board, Wilson and Worthy offer similar skill sets.

It’s a deep class for wide receivers this year. Top prospects like Harrison, Nabers, Odunze, and Thomas are considered no-brainers as first-round picks. An early run on those four could see many of the pass-catchers behind them find their way into the first round, as well. Even so, there are nearly 20 wideouts with a projected third-round grade or better. Not only is this a wide receiver class with lots of talent up top, but talent throughout will benefit teams who need receivers but will have to target other positions of need first.

WR Keon Coleman Declares For 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL draft is expected to feature a number of high-profile wideouts, and the list of options available at the position has grown. Florida State’s Keon Coleman has declared for the draft, as noted by ESPN’s Jordan Reid.

While Ohio State phenom Marvin Harrison Jr. is widely regarded as a top-three prospect, Coleman is one of several receivers who are expected to hear their names called on Day 1 this April. The latter flashed potential in his sophomore season with Michigan State, totaling 798 yards and seven touchdowns on 58 catches. Upon transferring to Florida State, expectations were high for the 2023 season.

Coleman did not disappoint in his first and only campaign with the Seminoles. Early in the season in particular, he showcased his basketball background and skillset as a jump-ball specialist. After Florida State lost quarterback Jordan Travis for the season, the team’s offense took a step back and Coleman’s production suffered as a result. Still, he posted 50 receptions, 658 yards and an ACC-leading 11 touchdowns across 12 games.

Those totals – along with his 6-4, 210-pound frame – have put Coleman firmly on the first-round radar. The Athletic currently has him rated as the No. 17 overall prospect, and fourth amongst receivers (subscription required). Likewise, ESPN’s Matt Miller slots Coleman 11th overall, behind the same trio of WR prospects (Harrison, Washington’s Rome Odunze and LSU’s Malik Nabers).

By declaring for the draft, Coleman joins fellow Seminole Jared Verse in making the decision to turn pro. The latter is seen as one of the top edge rushing prospects in the 2024 class, giving him a strong chance of being a Day 1 selection. The same is true of Coleman, who will profile as a top option on 50-50 balls and in the red zone right away upon entry into the NFL.