Steelers Player Preview: Sammie Coates


All around, the Steelers have gotten high grades for their recent haul from the NFL Draft, but how do high grades in May translate to production in September?

I’ve already looked at the roles that Bud Dupree and Senquez Golson can expect; here is a look at the immediate future of third round pick, Sammie Coates.

There were a few big knocks on this pick by fans and analysts. One was that the Steelers had several other needs that should have been a priority over wide receiver.

With a solid group of Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Martavis Bryant, it’s true that the Steelers were pretty much set at wide receiver before the draft. Brown was an MVP-caliber All Pro, while Bryant burst onto the scene with eight touchdowns in ten games.

There may have been bigger needs at other positions, but surrounding a top tier quarterback with young talent is always a good idea, especially if that quarterback is 33 years-old. If they retain their current talent, and Coates works out, the Steelers could be set at receiver for the remainder of Ben Roethlisberger’s career–that’s a happy thought.

Another knock was Coates’ hands. He had a penchant for drops in college. To paraphrase GM, Kevin Colbert, what wide receiver doesn’t drop passes?

Sure, Coates dropped some passes that a lot of receivers don’t drop. However, watching some of his tape, he also caught a lot of passes that many receivers don’t. He has good hands. He needs to be more consistent with them.

So where does he feature in 2015? It will likely be a quiet year for Coates. He has plenty of attributes to like, namely size and speed. He needs more polish and there is talent ahead of him.

Barring injuries to the wide receiving corps, Coates will likely ride the bench for much of the season. Brown and Wheaton are light-years ahead of Coates as far as knowing the offense, precise route-running, and versatility.

Coates offers a similar “take the top off” skill set to Bryant, but Bryant has already translated to the NFL. It will be tough for Coates to challenge him for snaps.

It will be interesting to see what kind of special teams involvement Coates can find for himself. Contributing in the kicking game is a must for a young player on the Steelers. With his size and speed Coates could make an impact here.

Martavis Bryant was an anomaly last year. It is rare for a rookie receiver to have such an impact in recent Steelers’ history. His insertion into the lineup was due to a lack of production–something that is unlikely for this group in 2015. So, barring injuries, Coates will likely be the odd man out.

It will be fun to watch the speedster in offseason workouts and preseason, but that’s likely the only glimpse we’ll get in 2015.

Next: Steelers' Signings: Beachum or Heyward?

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