SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Heading into the 2020 NFL Draft former Syracuse Defensive lineman Kendall Coleman had a feeling he might go undrafted. If that happened, he still felt he would end up somewhere in the NFL.
“This entire process has just been about getting myself an opportunity getting my foot in the door to allow myself to showcase who I am and what I can do and what I can bring to an organization,” said Coleman.
Coleman did have his chance to meet with NFL teams at the NFL Combine in February and the East West Shrine Bowl. It was at the latter that he met with the Indianapolis Colts and made an impression on a scout for the team. He kept his eye on Kendall as the Draft neared its end.
“He started to see the trend that was happening and was like ‘alright well I loved it. We got make a move on him.’ So through my agent, through rob and through him we were able to get a deal done and bring me home,” said Coleman.
Coleman then signed with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent. Rob, of course, is Roberts Mathis the former Indianapolis Colts defensive end and NFL all-time leader in forced fumbles. Coleman has been working with him throughout the pre-draft process. Given that Coleman grew up in Indianapolis, has worked out with one of his idols, and now is on his hometown team – it can be hard for Coleman to believe at times.
“Its kind a like wow I’ve put in all this work hoping it would come to this moment and now tis actually here. This moment is real. I am who I looked up to as a little kid,” said Coleman. “Of the timeline of my dreams so far I’ve continued to achieve what’s listed there.”
Coleman does get to stay in a familiar place, but also gets to see some familiar faces. Former Syracuse linebacker Zaire Franklin was drafted by Indianapolis in 2018 and has recorded 35 tackles in two seasons. He told Coleman that he is joining the perfect spot.
“We talked it over and everything like that and he was like you’re gonna be right at home. He meant that obviously literally but also figuratively too. He said basically the situation with the colts is going to put me right in my element. Just being me is going to allow me to succeed here,” said Coleman.
Coleman racked up 15.5. sacks during his time at Syracuse. He knows he has to show he can still an effective pass rusher, but also wants to prove he is not one dimensional.
“Finding my way on special teams, being able to stop the run and be a 1 through 4 down kinda guy making myself more valuable than simply just a pass rusher is I think is the first step in order to making sure that I find a way to stay in the NFL,” said Coleman.
While the offseason programs are a bit of a mystery right now in the NFL, the regular season is currently slated to start on time on September 10th with the schedule to be released on Thursday, May 7th.