2021 NFL Draft: Miami Dolphins select UMass football’s Larnel Coleman in 7th round

  • UMass offensive lineman Larnel Coleman was selected in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday. FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 5/1/2021 6:27:07 PM

Larnel Coleman threw on an aqua Air Jordan t-shirt after his morning shower Saturday. The UMass offensive lineman didn’t know it then, but it was the perfect fit.

The Miami Dolphins selected Coleman with the third pick in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday, No. 231 overall.

“This experience, I’m not going to lie, it’s really just magical. It’s been real stressful going throughout the day and just hearing my name called by this team, it means so much to me,” Coleman said. “I just can’t wait to work once I get down there and whatnot. It’s just really a blessing. I’m really happy that this team selected me.”

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, a UMass alumnus, made the call to let Coleman know he was going to be picked.

Coleman is the fifth lineman selected in UMass history, the first since Vladimir Ducasse was selected by the New York Jets in 2010. There have been 31 UMass players drafted to the NFL, six since the program joined the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

“Yeah, for sure. Being a UMass guy, (I’m) a really underrated guy; but I’m definitely going to come and give my all to this team,” Coleman said. “I’m trying to make a difference there.”

The Malden native has appeared in every UMass game since 2017. He was the Minutemen’s left tackle the past two seasons.

Coleman said he started practicing snapping recently so he could contribute at all positions on the offensive line.

“I’m real versatile, so whatever it is the team needs me to play, I can play it. I’m real athletic, so I can do just about everything. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m willing to do it,” Coleman said. “I tell everybody straight positive energy. You’ll never see me have a bad day, for one. And two, just aggressiveness. I’m on the field, I’m a dog; so you’re going to see it every play.”

Coleman made the Outland Trophy watch list last season and was a two-time member of Phil Steele’s All-Independent Team.

“Larnel has been a professional long before he’s ever had a chance to be a professional,” UMass coach Walt Bell said. “They physical leadership absolutely because of how he works how he approaches his business how he studies how he invests in the game how he invests in himself.”

Miami had seven picks in the 2021 draft and also selected Notre Dame tackle Liam Eichenberg in the second round. The Dolphins also picked running back Gerrid Doaks from Cincinnati in the seventh round. Grier said they honed in on smart, athletic players at that late stage of the draft.

“These guys, we feel, have very good upside. They’re good athletes but they’re also smart kids, they’re competitive kids,” Grier said. “Larnel did a nice job through the postseason, too, his all star game. We’re excited to get them, we think they have a lot of potential.”

It’s the third year in a row a Minuteman has been selected. Isaiah Rodgers was picked by the Indianapolis Colts last year, and Andy Isabella went to the Arizona Cardinals in 2019.

“It’s big in recruiting. That’s what 18-21 year olds want. They want the ability to achieve their dreams,” Bell said. “Any time you can prove that you can come to a place like the University of Massachusetts and accomplish those goals, that helps in a big way.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettnet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.
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