Pittsburgh Steelers Select Sammie Coates in 2015 NFL Draft: Instant Reaction


Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Wow! I am not going to lie to you readers, I am a bit shocked that the Steelers elected to not double-dip at the cornerback position with Doran Grant or Steven Nelson on the board in the third round. Both would have represented upgrades of what the team currently has at the position, and Pittsburgh really needed to upgrade their secondary.

Unfortunately, those in charge in Pittsburgh elected to go in a different direction than what many of us hoped. Instead of bolstering their back-eight they decided to take a chance on Sammie Coates of Auburn in the third round.

First of all, let me state that I think Coates was selected where he should have been and there is upside related to this former Tiger wide receiver. He has a built-out frame (6’1″ 212 lbs.), long arms and has good straight-line speed to stretch defenses vertically.

Coates was very productive during his final two collegiate seasons (2013-2014: 76 catches, 1,643 yards, 11 TDs), and will definitely add a vertical element to the offense which already possesses the speedy Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant.

Unfortunately for Coates, like Bryant was coming out of college, he is a work in progress as a receiver. He must improve his route-running, must high-point the ball better when it is contested and his hands and how reliable they are will be a definite question. To me he is a third round prospect, but I do have one major question:

Will offensive coordinator Todd Haley actually use him?

Last fall, the Steelers had Lance Moore as the fourth wide receiver on their depth chart. However, despite his reliability in the passing game, Haley elected to use backup tight ends and Will Johnson instead of Moore on the offensive side of the ball. I understand Coates isn’t a first round pick, but I have questions about how often he will actually be used with Brown, Wheaton and Bryant ahead of him on the depth chart.

Plus, it doesn’t help that the cornerback position was ignored to take a fourth wide receiver who likely will not see much playing time, if any, if Wheaton, Brown and Bryant are healthy and in the lineup since Johnson and Spaeth are back.

This grade is more indicative of the reach and the lack of logic than the overall player. I think you can develop, Sammie. I just hope you gain the necessary opportunities to do so while you are in Pittsburgh.

Grade: D+

Players Stats Provided By Specific Team Pages: Auburn and ESPN.com

Players Contract Info. Provided By: Spotrac.com

Players Heights/Weight Provided By: CBSSports.com