NFL Draft Profiles: Talking with UMass Offensive Tackle Larnel Coleman
Looking at the 2021 NFL Draft, the Eagles could benefit from bolstering several positions with their eight draft picks. It wouldn’t be shocking if they continued to add depth to their excellent offensive line during day three. A name that could be a possible great fit with the Eagles is UMass offensive tackle, Larnel Coleman.
Coleman is a 6’6 315 pound redshirt senior who was a captain for the Minutemen during the 2020 season. During the past season he was named to the Phil Steele All-Independent team and was on the Outland Trophy watch list. I had a chance to sit down with Larnel to discuss his time at UMass and what lies ahead of him in the coming months.
During his five years at UMass, Coleman learned a lot, but one of the biggest things he took away from the university was being reliable across the board, among several other things.
“One thing that I would take with me from UMass is how always to be a reliable person. I say this because of my professors and all the classmates I’ve had throughout the years. Also, being someone who people can count on getting the job done has helped me gain a lot of friends and respect from my peers.”
Although it is early in the draft process, Larnel has already garnered a lot of interest across the NFL. Teams like the Las Vegas Raiders, New York Jets, and Los Angeles Chargers have shown interest, among several others. When discussing the Philadelphia Eagles, this is what Coleman had to say.
“I think that the Eagles are a great organization, and It would be an amazing opportunity to play for them.”
Players are often scrutinized heavily during the draft process, with scouts deeply analyzing every part of a player’s game. Upfront, linemen are often judged for their stance, athleticism, and hand placement, among millions of other things. For Larnel, he felt his hand placement was one aspect of his game that needs to be fine-tuned before draft day.
“One part of my game that I want to work on is being more intentional with my hand placement. That way, it will be easier to win my matchups.”
Knowing your weaknesses and being willing to fix them is a great mindset when becoming a great player. Looking at Coleman’s film, he is a fantastic player and looked great in one-on-one drills during invitationals following the season. Alongside his pass protection, Larnel felt very strong about his massive wingspan.
“One of my biggest strengths is my natural length in my arms, and I feel that they have help me become such a good athlete.”
When talking about run blocking and pass protection, Coleman told me he felt equally confident in both parts of his game, and the film proves that. His long arms and athleticism help keep his defenders at bay. During his time in high school, Larnel wasn’t just a beast at football, but basketball too. He was named to all-area teams and helped learn some valuable skills he could transition to football.
“Basketball helped me with my pass blocking because playing defense in basketball is essentially the same, in terms of having to stay in front of your man.”
During the 2020 season, Coleman was nominated a captain at UMass. Being named captain was an honor he holds dear to this day, being selected to a leadership position by his fellow teammates.
“Being selected captain meant that my teammates had full trust in me and that they looked up to me as a leader and someone that they respected. So having their support meant the world to me, and I wanted to make sure I could do the best I can to be the voice of the team.”
If you look back at Larnel’s film from high school, you might not think you’re watching the right player. During high school, Coleman played tight end and didn’t transition to o-line until later in his career. With that change, there were several learning curves along the way.
“I think the biggest learning curve from transitioning to offense o-line is just learning how to properly block someone because back in the day, I just tried hitting people as hard as I could.”
While the most significant days are his life are ahead of him, Larnel made sure to thank those who helped him every step of the way so far.
“I would like to thank my family for always supporting me and pushing me to be the best version of myself on a daily basis.”
Even though we spoke for just a short time, I could tell that Larnel has a great career ahead of him in the NFL. Between watching him at UMass this past season and individual competitions, it’s easy to see he’s a hard worker who shows the ability to be a quick learner. But more important than that, he is a fantastic teammate and leader both on and off the field.
If you want to keep tabs on Larnel during the draft process, be sure to follow him on Twitter @Ace_killa74.
Mandatory Credit: UMass Athletics