Training camp is about to begin, and one of the traits the Jets worked on all offseason, team speed, will soon be on display.
One veteran with speed to burn is RB Tevin Coleman. Coleman was signed as an unrestricted free agent by the Jets in late March after spending four seasons with Atlanta and the past two with San Francisco, which, as luck would have it, was also the team that Jets head coach Robert Saleh spent the past four seasons with.
Commenting on Coleman during OTAs, Saleh left no doubt how he felt: "Teviin, he's pure gas. When he gets the ball in his hands and he makes that one cut, it's like he shot out of a cannon. He's got tremendous speed."
But that's all anecdotal evidence, even from someone as reliable as Saleh. Can we measure Coleman's speed? Hang some numbers on it?
Of course we can.
We can start with Coleman's predraft testing in early 2015. One NFL Combine source, normally reliable, states that he turned in a 4.59-second 40-yard dash at the '15 Combine, not exactly rocket-powered numbers.
But as it turns out, that number was wrong. Coleman, who rang up lots of other impressive numbers at Indiana, didn't participate in that year's Combine, due to a toe injury that required surgery, and didn't work out for the scouts until almost two months later. And his 40 times, from those reports, were impressive, if not all in complete agreement: 4.40 from pro-football-reference.com, 4.39 from nflbreakdowns.com, and even a 4.35 from NESN, the New England Sports Network.
Then, with the advent of Next Gen Stats, we have player stats that didn't exist before, oh, about 2016. One of those metrics is a mouthful, "Average speed while crossing the line of scrimmage with the ball on a rush." And that just happens to be a category that Coleman is near the top in.
Here are the best four speeds in that metric, courtesy of NGS and TruMediaNetworks.com, for the 95 NFL backs with at least 200 carries in the past five seasons combined:
Also courtesy of Next Gen Stats, Coleman's 10.62 mph speed is the fastest among the 65 NFL backs since '16 with 300-plus carries. And in terms of the maximum speed at the LOS with the ball on a rushing play, Coleman is fourth-fastest at 20.60 mph.
Coleman's 4.20 yards/carry average isn't quite as gaudy as those of Mostert, Jones and Kamara, but Tevin's speed manifests itself in another area: yards/reception. There are many backs who averaged 10.0 yards/catch or more, but the totals have dwindled over the years. Only three backs whose careers began in 2000 or later have 10.0's or better. And Coleman is No. 2 at 10.46, five-hundredths of a yard (or 1.8 inches) less than the leader, David Johnson, now with the Texans.
Here are those three RBs with 10.0 yards/catch averages since 2000:
"I see myself that I can do it all," Coleman said during OTAs about his receiving dimension. "I can block, I can run and I can catch the ball out of the backfield. So I'm definitely pretty comfortable with that."