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There will be ‘bumps in the road’

The fan anticipation hovering around Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver Keon Coleman can perhaps best be compared to a boulder rolling down a large hill. It’s gaining momentum as it gets closer to its final destination, and if precautions aren’t taken now, people could get (figuratively) hurt.

Expectations have always been high for the former Florida State Seminole; the characterful 6-foot-4 pass catcher caught 50 passes for 658 yards and 11 touchdowns in his lone season in Tallahassee, standing out as one of the “higher-end” prospects in a 2024 NFL Draft class that was not in any class. a way without talented wideouts. He has done nothing but improve his stock since being selected by the Bills in the second round of the draft, endearing himself to the Buffalo faithful with his genuine personality before earning praise from quarterback Josh Allen at optional OTAs.

The fan base – and the team itself – is expecting a lot from Coleman in his debut campaign, as the 21-year-old projects as the Bills’ X-wide receiver given the offseason departure of perennial Pro Bowler Stefon Diggs. General manager Brandon Beane is hitting the brakes on the hype train a bit; he spoke about the receiver following the team’s recent mandatory minicamp, expressing optimism about the wideout while emphasizing the differences between the collegiate and professional games and the overall importance of reality.

“I think Keon worked hard,” Beane said. “Like anything, (a) college playbook versus an NFL playbook, a big difference. The verbiage, where he lines up, the vision adjustments, all the variations he has to do. Even what we ask for our guys in the run game, I don’t know specifically what he was asked there. At some schools there’s very little, it’s kind of like, if it’s not a pass play, do a play-off. That’s not here. He must be involved in all phases of our attack.

“But I see a man who works hard, who is competitive. You got to know his personality, he is sincere, that is really who he is. Like anything, he will encounter bumps in the road. He’s a rookie and I think we all have to understand that. I think he and Josh are working on the rapport that’s going to be necessary between the quarterback and the receiver.”

Related: NFL writer believes this WR will make a career comeback with Bills

While Beane’s response has led to quite a few “eyeball emojis” on social media, he didn’t say anything particularly shocking or alarming. There are clear and objective differences between the collegiate and professional games. Anyone who expected Coleman to pick up all the intricacies of a new level in a few weeks was simply unrealistic. The exec also addresses the differences between the receiver’s college and NFL playbooks, a contrast that Coleman himself spoke about last month during rookie minicamp; the Louisiana native then told reporters that there was “a lot of difference” between the offenses in Florida State and Buffalo.

Beane’s comments certainly imply that Coleman isn’t looking like a dominant frontier yet; the director would probably be the first to tell you he didn’t expect the rookie to look like an elite receiver after a handful of padless drills.

The more encouraging – and potentially important – elements of Beane’s response are his comments on Coleman’s character and work ethic, as That will be the determining factor in whether he improves on his current rough state. Beane’s comments are not gloomy by any means, despite what social media might suggest; Sorry, but the sky doesn’t fall in Buffalo.

The rookie might not look like an All-Pro come June. Fortunately, games won’t be played until September.