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Corey Coleman developing roles with the Browns, special teams included

Chris Tabor isn't one to balk at the idea of first-round draft picks handling special teams duties. And the Browns' special teams coordinator's logic behind that stance seems to be pretty sound.

"I'll be honest with you, I never think of them as first-round draft picks. If that's the best option and best player that you have, that's what you're going to do. If that's going to help you win, that's what you want to do," Tabor said Wednesday.

"I don't get caught up in where a guy's at, just from this standpoint: (Pittsburgh wide receiver) Antonio Brown for the Steelers might be regarded as one of the best players in the NFL, and he's their punt returner."

Point taken.

And against that backdrop, Tabor said rookie wide receiver Corey Coleman is a candidate to run back both kick and punt returns next season amid several other players who are vying for different roles on the roster.

"He obviously has great speed. He has some — what I would say — is really good short-area quickness, he's a make-you-miss type guy and then has a good burst to go," Tabor said. "He's doing a nice job for us and we've just got to keep developing him."

Indeed, Coleman — who was selected by the Browns with the 15th overall pick last month — has proven he's a playmaker at the college level, totaling 3,009 receiving yards and 33 touchdowns while at Baylor. And head coach Hue Jackson and the coaching staff will use his unusual skill set to the best of their ability, be it on offense or on special teams.

"Obviously you're always looking for guys that can run, that can cover, that can get off blocks," said Tabor, who added the Browns are very much in the process of evaluating what players' strengths and weaknesses are.

"We're trying to figure out what guys can and can't do and tap into those things," Tabor said. "But all the guys that we did draft are doing really well for us and so are the free agent guys. I'm really excited for this incoming class and trying to get them up to speed."

The Browns also still have members of the roster who left their mark in the return game last season.

"In the kick return, we obviously still have (cornerback) Justin Gilbert, who did a nice job for us. (Running back) Raheem Mostert, when we picked him up, he did a really, really good job for us," Tabor said. "So I think we're in good shape there. In the punt return area, we're developing guys and I think we'll be fine."

He added: "Coach Jackson wants us to be second to none," Tabor said, "and he puts high priority on our special teams."

And if that means first-round draft picks returning kicks, then so be it.

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