Drew Coleman #30 of the New York Jets sacks quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
When Drew Coleman was drafted in the 6th round of the 2006 draft out of TCU, I was underwhelmed but cautiously optimistic. I didn't know anything about him, but on tape he didn't look half bad, he had speed, he had some pop and his cover skills were actually quite decent. He had 8 pass break-ups his final year which tied the team lead. However a 6th round pick is already facing an uphill battle when he reaches the pro level.
So it was not surprising to see him struggle, and struggle consistently. Every off-season his name was added to the active roster and every off-season dozens of Jets fans were left scratching their head. I'd given up all hope on him being anything more than a plucky special teams guy (my opinion of his ceiling) and a liability every time he took a snap on the defensive side of the ball.
Then Rex Ryan arrived, and although we didn't see big steps in 2009, we remember the AFC Championship game and him getting beat like a drum at times through the season. Drew started to express some of that Texas swagger, his confidence was rising and he didn't look as terrible as he had done previously.
However a few bright spots in an underwhelming season was not enough to save him from the scorn of the New York fans, and we again took position scratching our heads as to why he was constantly being brought back. Was he a first class trainer, a workout warrior or did he just have some revealing photos of Rex Ryan in his locker.
Well as John alluded to in his post game wrap-up last night, Drew is starting to come into his own. When we drafted Kyle Wilson, many people were thankful. One that we could match-up with teams like the Colts now, and two because it restricted Coleman's playing time.
We didn't foresee that Kyle would struggle quite as much as he has (he's still making some plays, just finding his feet) or that Revis could spend the majority of the early season warming the physiotherapy chair. However somewhere along the line, Drew Coleman (along with Lowery) realised that it was their time to step up and show everyone why they were on this team.
Lowery's place has rarely come under scrutiny but Coleman's has. This year I have very few complaints about the guy who has contributed more to our 4-1 start than Darrelle Revis has (did you ever think you could say that with a straight face). He's out there making plays, and looking more like the guy from TCU who's finally picked up the NFL pace. He's reading the ball, he's flying to the QB (Favre may look like he is moving in slow motion sometimes but Coleman was absolutely flying on that sack last night) he's getting his hands up to defend and he's not being beaten.
Now I'm not saying that Coleman is going to the Pro Bowl any time soon, and the engravers at Canton can probably hold back with the chisel. However it's great to see someone like Coleman, who has suffered a lot of negative press over his 4 and a bit year career making plays and not getting beat like a Mardi Gras drum. I didn't think we would get to this stage with Drew, and it's one of the many times I enjoy being wrong.
There is still a lot of work to be done for Drew, he's not and never will completely shut people down, but he looks like he is here to stay and here to play and it's great having a little bit of faith in our depth chart at such a key position.
Keep up the good work Drew.