The Browns stuck to their board as they took their second and final turn on the clock Thursday, and the player at the top of it just so happened to be at a position they knew they had to address in this year's draft.
That was the long and short of how Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman became a Cleveland Brown at 9:57 p.m. After the Browns swapped first-round picks with the Tennessee Titans, moving back from No. 8 to No. 15 in their second trade of the past eight days, Coleman had a feeling he might land with the Browns, and the Browns leadership group had a feeling he'd be the one they'd be calling with their first of 12 picks in the 2016 NFL Draft.
"We probably bounced around a little bit more than maybe our fans wanted us to, but we positioned ourselves to pick up what was our top-rated wide receiver but also position ourselves to pick a couple of additional players this weekend," said Browns executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown. "We're really excited to add a dynamic player to our offense. It is something that we haven't had in the past year or recent years, with Corey's speed, tenacity and ability to turn small plays into long plays. We're really excited to bring him here and make him a Cleveland Brown."
In sending Tennessee the No. 8 pick and a sixth-round selection, the Browns acquired the No. 15 pick where they snagged Coleman, an additional third-round pick Friday and a 2017 second-rounder.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Coleman is just the fourth receiver Cleveland has selected since 2011 and the first it's taken in the first round since 2005 (Braylon Edwards).
Even at the midpoint of the first round, the Browns were positioned to take the first wide receiver of the 2016 draft. Among a group that included Notre Dame's Will Fuller, Ole Miss' Laquon Treadwell and TCU's Josh Doctson, Coleman left enough of a lasting impression with Browns vice president of player personnel Andrew Berry and the team's other top talent evaluators to rise to the top.
The Browns had a heavy presence at Coleman's Pro Day, an event at which Coleman posted a blazing 4.37-second 40-yard dash time, and they worked him out extensively. Coleman was one of 30 prospects to visit with the team in Berea before the draft, and he "lit up the building," Berry said. When Coleman visited the Browns, the team held the No. 2 pick.
"They loved me," Coleman said, "but at that time it was kind of impossible."
The Cleveland Browns selected Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman with the No. 15 pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
The three other receivers were drafted shortly after Coleman in consecutive order at picks No. 21 (Houston, Fuller), No. 22 (Washington, Doctson) and No. 23 (Minnesota, Treadwell).
"We felt that Corey, coming out early, a younger player, still has a lot to develop as a receiver but brings some dimensions that you know you just can't develop in terms of his speed, his ability to attack the ball in the air for a smaller receiver who does not play to his size," Brown said. "He plays above his size. We liked all those things about him, but we knew we wanted to add some speed to the offense to make sure people respected our passing game."
Browns coach Hue Jackson, in multiple instances, has explained his desire to add more bigger and faster elements to Cleveland's wide receiving corps, which enters the 2016 season without its top producer from a year ago (Travis Benjamin). Though Coleman isn't going to tower over opposing cornerbacks, Jackson was adamant Coleman fit the bill in both areas.
"One thing we need to do is become more dynamic on offense," Jackson said. "This guy can score in a number of different ways – by catching it, by running it. He has tremendous ability. He's probably one of the most dynamic players in this draft on offense, arguably. Again, he has the talent to do exactly what we're trying to get accomplished on offense. I think he's going to fit in really well here."
The receiver who finished second in the league in receiving in 2015, Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown, boasts nearly identical measurables to Coleman, who pinpointed Brown as a player whom he uses as inspiration. Jackson smiled and joked when that comparison was presented late Thursday, as he urged caution about the expectations that will inevitably swirl around a first-round pick such as Coleman.
"This guy is going to make his way, and I'm glad he wants to compare himself that way and he feels that's one of the guys he idolizes," Jackson said. "Hopefully, he can get there in time."