Mocs' Coleman turns heads at first Shrine practice
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WRCB) -- B.J. Coleman wasted no time separating himself from the pack in his first practice for the East-West Shrine Game.
The former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga quarterback and NFL Draft hopeful "wowed" several writers and scouts in attendance at the East squad's padless workout on Monday.
Coleman, who measured at 6-foot-3 and 234 pounds upon arrival Sunday, is one of three signal callers on the East roster for Saturday's all-star game at Tropicana Field in St. Pete (4 p.m. ET on NFL Network), joining Southern Mississippi's Austin Davis and Florida's John Brantley.
Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko said it was "obvious that Coleman was leaps ahead of the other quarterbacks," and offered a complete breakdown of the Chattanooga native's first impression.
"He delivers a tight pass, has the arm to sling it around, timed outside passes well," Galko wrote in his daily East practice report. "He wasn't connecting deep down the field, and his touch and accuracy past 15 yards was a concern. Still, he found a rhythm with some receivers, and I expect him only to get better as the week goes on.
"Along with his abilities as a passer, he was a vocal leader, challenging, motivating, directing the receivers well. Looks like he'll get the "character/leadership" grade easily this week."
Galko wasn't the only one impressed by Coleman's abilities.
NFL Draft Monster's Thomas Melton tweeted: "BJ Coleman is the best QB here period. Compact motion, plus arm strength. Mechanics look clean early. Passes cut right through the wind."
National Football Post's Wes Bunting also took notice, but added some areas Coleman can improve:
"QB BJ Coleman is an impressive athlete, can spin it, made some "wow" throws, raw from under center , struggles w accuracy," Bunting said on his Twitter page.
In addition to Coleman, Tennessee Tech receiver and former Red Bank star Tim Benford was singled out by Galko as one of his biggest winners of day one.
Benford, who is listed by Tech at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, was regarded as the most consistent receiver of the day in most tweets against the likes of B.J. Cunningham (Michigan State) and LaRon Byrd (Miami, FL).
"He's very sudden, explodes very well in his cuts, and was able to plant, flip and comeback to the ball very well," Galko said in a breakdown of Benford in his report for OptimumScouting.com. "He was a favorite target in the offense, and if he can show some shake in the open field too, he might get himself firmly in the draft-mix. Still, a long week ahead for the smaller receiver.