Former Baylor teammates set to square off this Sunday
By Tyler Olson
It’s always a storyline when former collegiate teammates face off against each other in the pro’s. This Sunday Xavien Howard of the Miami Dolphins and Corey Coleman of the Cleveland Browns will get to do just that.
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Howard and Coleman had successful careers at Baylor University. Now they’re both starting for 0-2 teams in the NFL.
Coleman certainly had the more storied career in college. Drafted in the 1st round this last April, Coleman shot up draft boards this last year after accumulating over 1,300 yards and catching 20 touchdowns in 2015. His success on the field not only led to raving reviews from draft experts and teams across the league but also at the college ranks; Coleman won the Biletnikoff Award last season.
While Coleman stole headlines at Baylor it didn’t take away from what Howard did. Playing on a defense that struggles on a yearly basis, Howard was one of the few bright spots. In 2014 Howard intercepted four passes and improved that number to five in 2015 as he was named 1st-Team, All-Big 12. The Dolphins felt confident enough about Howard to select him 38th overall in this years’ draft.
Said one AFC East scout – safe to assume it may have been a Miami scout – via nfl.com:
"“I love his ‘see ball, get ball’ attitude. I thought he would run a 4.47 at the combine, so I’ll go back and double check the tape, but we value ball skills over speed so my grade won’t change based on his 40.” — AFC East scout"
So who has the edge when the two hit the field at Hard Rock Stadium this Sunday?
Most will jump to the conclusion that Coleman would be the favorite to win his matchups due to his early success thus far this season. Last week Coleman caught five passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
Coleman does have one thing holding him back, however, at the quarterback position. He’s caught passes from two different quarterbacks in two games this year. Sunday he’ll be running routes for rookie quarterback Cody Kessler.
Is that enough to hold Coleman back?
Myself, and many others, believe so. Standing at 6′ and weighing in at over 200lbs, Howard has the size advantage over his former Baylor Bear teammate. Howard has also proven to be a sure tackler through his first two games in the NFL and has yet to give up a play over his head.
The Browns and Dolphins are set to kickoff at 1pm ET this Sunday.
Sidenote: Next week Howard will be able to reunite with his Wheatly High School teammate William Jackson III when the Dolphins take on the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson is currently out with a pectoral injury.