By: Chip Turner
As the 2021 NFL Draft process wound down on Day Three, the Miami Dolphins selected OT Larnel Coleman with the 231st overall pick. In researching and evaluating the 2021 Draft Class as a whole, one thing became readily apparent. The Miami Dolphins, for the past two years, have leaned heavily in the direction of high-upside, smart, athletic prospects.
Coleman is no different. At 6’6” – 307 pounds, he put up more than respectable numbers at his Pro Day – he actually tested in the top 15% of all tackles drafted since 1987.
Originally a basketball star in high school, Coleman transitioned to football at UMass, and has improved his craft every year. He played in all 12 games for UMass in 2017, with one start, and then started every game from 2018-2020. He’s also versatile; he’s played both left and right tackle, and even practiced snapping the ball, so he could help at whatever position he might be needed. In 2020, he made the Outland Trophy Watch List; the Outland Trophy is given to the nation’s best Offensive Lineman. Even with the abbreviated 2020 season, Coleman impressed.
Chris Grier discussed him briefly when talking about the draft class “These guys, we feel, have very good upside. They’re good athletes but they’re also smart kids, they’re competitive kids…Larnel did a nice job through the postseason, too, his All-Star game. We’re excited to get them, we think they have a lot of potential.”
That genuinely seems to be the theme of the 2021 Dolphins draft class. Words you’ll hear over and over again: Smart. Athletes. Upside. And to a man, all of the draftees seem to echo some version of what Coleman said once he realized he’d been drafted by Miami:
“I just can’t wait to get down there and work,” Coleman said. As Brian Flores will remind us, “There's joy in hard work — this is it. And this is just the beginning. Trust me on that one.” As camp starts for Coleman, he’ll have every opportunity to learn, impress, and continue his growth as a member of the Miami Dolphins.