Coleman Hoping To Raise Draft Stock

Ohio State's 2009 team Most Valuable Player has entered a new phase in his life: NFL prospect. But while he works on improving his speed and strength for upcoming tests, he maintains confidence his on-field performances past will impress scouts and personnel people.

Kurt Coleman is heading to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis at the end of the month to show NFL personnel he has the measurable physical skills to match his stellar three-year run of production as a starting safety for one of the best defenses in college football.

"I'm looking forward to just testing my limits," he said Tuesday at the Woody Hayes Athletics Center. "I think I can go to the next level and play right away and make a big contribution to the team. I think teams will understand that when I'm out there for the combine and other workouts. They'll see the competitive nature and the way I go about my business."

On Jan. 1, Coleman wrapped up his senior campaign with four solo tackles in the Buckeyes' Rose Bowl victory over Oregon, but he was not able to jump into working out full-go for the next chapter in his football life immediately because of an abdominal problem. That hindered his ability to work out at full capacity, although it did not prevent him from taking part in a week of practices at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., in January.

Down south he did not make many headlines for his work during the week, but he did garner a start in the secondary for the victorious North squad, and he found the experience positive.

"When I went down there to the Senior Bowl and worked with the Detroit Lions (coaches), it really put into perspective what it takes to be a professional, what they're expecting out of each and every player, and I think that's really helped my game and coming back here," he said.

In the meantime, his injury mostly cleared itself up, and he sounded like his usual confident self when speaking with local reporters.

"I'm basically 100 percent now," said Coleman, whom many draft services have pegged as a mid-round draft prospect. "I had to take a couple days off last week, but now it's almost fully healed and I'm excited because I've been seeing my strides and my speed going up and up, and that's what I've been waiting for."

Speed is one of the most-talked-about aspects of the evaluation period of the NFL calendar, and Coleman said he will be satisfied with any 40-yard dash time below 4.5 seconds.

"I think I can run a low 4.4, maybe a 4.38," he said.

Size figures to be an important factor in Coleman's case, too. The 5-11 safety played at about 195 pounds at Ohio State, a bit on the small side for an NFL safety.

Keeping on pounds is something Coleman struggles with at times, so he is supplementing his workouts with a high-protein diet in an attempt to stay just under 200 pounds while also reducing his body fat.

"Filets all day," he joked when asked to identify his favorite source of protein.

Coming off a productive college career that included 219 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, nine interceptions and five forced fumbles, Coleman is hoping his on-field production will overshadow any concerns a team would have about his size in the NFL.

"I'm not going to be able to grow, that's for sure, but I've just got to be able to continue to gain some more weight and I think they just want to see me at a nice weight," he said. "My height is going to be my height, but they want me to gain weight and use that weight to my advantage. When it comes to playing football, it's playing football for me. I think they'll see that my weight or my size doesn't matter.

"Your tape is going to speak for itself. Of course there are exceptional cases of where someone never really played that much but had an outstanding combine and gets drafted, but for the most part in talking with the scouts and GMs and coaches, they rely on tape and then those extra attributes are what get you drafted in the first round, the top 10, so I think my football tape is going to speak for itself, now I've just got to show them my extra attributes."

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