College coach projects big things for Commanders' high-risk rookie

The Commanders need Brandon Coleman to hit the ground running.
A.J. Ricker
A.J. Ricker / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

The Washington Commanders tried to trade back into the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft. They did so with the sole purpose of landing one of the better offensive tackle prospects from one of the deepest classes in recent memory.

Adam Peters was unsuccessful, leaving him forced to look further down the pecking order. This eventually led the Commanders to Brandon Coleman at No. 67 overall. It's a feast-or-famine move from the organization, especially considering the concerns around the edge options tasked with keeping rookie quarterback Jayden Daniels' pocket clean next season.

Coleman is rough around the edges, but the athleticism is absolutely off the charts for a man his size. There are doubts about whether he's got sufficient length to man an NFL blindside, but those in power are giving him every chance to win the starting job immediately despite starting veteran Cornelius Lucas at left tackle over early offseason workouts.

College coach believes Brandon Coleman can excel with the Commanders

The former TCU star got his fair share of reps with the starting unit. Expect this trend to continue where Coleman is concerned over Washington's training camp. How he performs when things get more intense once the pads go on is going to determine what his role will be over the opening few weeks of 2024.

This is a high-risk selection - one that could go either way. Coleman's got a supreme vote of confidence from A.J. Ricker, his old coach with the Horned Frogs. He believes the lineman could be set for great things with some additional experience based on comments via the team's website.

"He's super athletic. Still green, but just the way he can get off the ball and get to the second level and sustain blocks is…what really makes him special. If your feet are not right, very rarely are your hands gonna be efficient. It's blocking with your feet first, and then the rest will take care of itself. He [Coleman] was blessed genetically to have really good feet and be athletic, but he also works at it, too. There's a guy that honestly could play all three [positions]. Center, guard and tackle. And heck, that's what you're looking for now. And he still hasn't played that much football. His best football is still ahead of him. I think the more confidence he gets going against guys in the NFL, the better he'll be. I think as he goes along in camp…he's just gonna get better."

A.J. Ricker via

Coleman was seen as a project coming in. That wouldn't be an issue if the Commanders had an established left tackle.

They don't.

Lucas is serviceable enough, but he's seen as more of a swing tackle at this stage of his career. The Commanders released veteran mainstay Charles Leno Jr. They haven't done enough to fill the void as yet.

There's still time for that to change. Peters has enough salary-cap space available to acquire another dependable performer. Considering the need to develop chemistry with widespread changes to the offensive line, this should be done sooner rather than later.

Coleman's got the physical profile to be successful over time. What his best position is hasn't been determined. However, it would be an immense disappointment if it wasn't on the edge rather than being switched to the interior.

Position versatility over specialism became synonymous with Ron Rivera's largely unsuccessful four-year stint at the helm. Peters cannot afford to make the same mistakes. This bears more significance when one considers the lingering impact on Washington's new franchise player will be severe.