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NFL Draft

Larnel Coleman: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • April 24, 2021
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If your favorite team is looking for a versatile offensive line prospect in the 2021 NFL draft, Larnel Coleman, out of Massachusetts, should be on its radar.

Coleman, a do-it-all blocker that has played both left and right tackle, spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his experience as a multi-sport athlete in high school, how much interest he’s seeing from NFL teams, how he uses his terrific length to his advantage, and what kind of player he’ll be at the next level.

JM: You played tight end and defensive end in addition to offensive tackle in high school. You also played some power forward and center on the basketball team. How did those experiences make you a better offensive tackle?

LC: Honestly, I think basketball probably helped me the most. It might be crazy to say that but I really believe it. I feel like playing defense in basketball is very similar to playing the offensive tackle position. I’m protecting the rim like I have to protect my quarterback. In both sports, you have to stay in front of the guy you’re covering. In basketball, I had to make sure he doesn’t get to the basket. A lot of those skills translate to football. I had a pretty traditional football experience while playing three different positions in high school. I think it’s a testament to my athleticism.

JM: That’s a great point. You have experience playing both left and right tackle. Tell me about how you approach them differently and which side you’re most comfortable playing on.

LC: Honestly, they’re very similar. It’s literally the exact same thing, just in reverse. There really isn’t much of a difference in my opinion. I don’t prefer one over the other. As long as I’m out there helping my team win games in whichever way I can, it really doesn’t matter which side I play on. I’ll play whatever.

JM: You have incredible length. You might be the longest offensive tackle in this entire draft. I need you to confirm some of the measurements for me there. How do you use your length to your advantage?

LC: My arm length is a bit greater than 36-inches. I also have an 84-inch wingspan. My arm length definitely helps me out a ton, especially in pass protection. A lot of defenders have a hard time even reaching my body. If I can make that first move and read their moves, I can shut down whatever they’re trying to do thanks to my length. My arm length helps me out a ton.

JM: You have a tremendous amount of length. You’ve spent the last few months meeting with teams virtually through Zoom. You also met with a few teams in person at the College Gridiron Showcase. What’s that process been like for you, and who are some of the teams you’ve met with?

LC: This entire process has been a blessing. I’ve really been in awe this entire time. Seeing all these teams hit me up, the ones that are really showing interest me, it’s such a great feeling. They came out to see me in person at the CGS, they’re calling me on the phone and through Zoom. Everything that’s going on is a blessing for me. I’ve met with more than 15 teams. They’ve reached out to me personally. I’ve met with the Colts, Cardinals, Jaguars, Titans, Jets, Chargers, and Eagles to name a few.

JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why. Tell me about the scheme you played in at Massachusetts, and how you think that experience will help you at the next level.

LC: We were an outside zone type of offense. We ran a bunch of wide zone. With how NFL offenses are operating nowadays, you see a lot of those wide zone concepts now. That’s how teams wanna run the ball in today’s game. We based our offense around that. That experience is definitely gonna help me at the next level.

JM: That’s great. Somebody is gonna label you a small-school prospect. You’ve probably already heard it. Somebody is gonna say that Massachusetts is a small school. How do you typically respond to that?

LC: Playing at UMass and reaching this point in the process is an accomplishment in its own right. I still had the opportunity to play against a lot of big schools. I’m so thankful that we had that opportunity at UMass. Yeah, I might come from a smaller school as far as football goes, but we played against Mississippi State and Tennessee. I played against both of those schools. 

I put some great things on tape against bigger programs. Turn the tape on. Go watch how I performed when we played against tougher competition. I had great games against those teams. Having that experience has prepared me for the next level. I didn’t play the biggest teams every Saturday, but I put a lot of great things on tape when we played against tougher competition. I made the most of those games. 

JM: That’s the right way to answer that question. I’ve really appreciated your time. In closing, why should an NFL team use one of its draft picks on Larnel Coleman?

LC: I’m a high motor, high energy type of player. I always have a positive mindset. I’m coming to work my butt off every single day. I’m definitely coming to show out at the next level.

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