Steelers Player Spotlight: Sammie Coates

Sammie Coates had a career day against the Jets, stepping up throughout the injury of Eli Rogers and the struggles of Markus Wheaton.

Wide receiver Sammie Coates was drafted out of Auburn University in the 3rd round of the 2015 NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Coates saw very little time, but hit the field in the playoffs after Antonio Brown suffered his concussion.

In the game against the Denver Broncos in the Divisional Round last year, Coates displayed his big play capability that he showed throughout his college career where he averaged 20.9 yards per reception. In that game, he finished with just two receptions, but for 61 yards.

Heading into this season, the team needed a replacement for the suspended Martavis Bryant, and many people turned their heads to Coates to be the guy to step up. Both Bryant and Coates have impressive speed but came out of college with concerns about catching the ball.

Despite the concern, you’ve got to take a look at the Steelers’ track record when it comes to wide receivers they draft. They have turned 3rd round and beyond picks into stars including Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Emmanuel Sanders, and Mike Wallace just to name a few over the last few years. The Steelers are a wide receiver factory, and many thought Coates was the next great wonder.

So far this season, it’s hard to tell what the Steelers might get out of Coates. His hands, which were the main concern coming out of college, has continuously been a problem. Just this week, he dropped 3-4 passes, and one that would’ve been an easy touchdown.

Luckily, Ben Roethlisberger clearly has faith in him. Despite all the drops, Roethlisberger didn’t stop feeding him the ball, and the plan worked. Coates finished the game with 6 catches for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns.

He has also proven to be a great deep threat, and maybe this is a stretch, but arguably one of the more dangerous deep threats in the league. He has managed to catch a ball of 40+ yards in every game so far this year and leads the league with 7.

Against the Jets, Sammie Coates had one touchdown where he absolutely burned cornerback Marcus Williams on his way to a 72 yard score just three plays into the game. That play was so reminiscent of what we’ve seen from Martavis Bryant, and truly displayed their similarities.

Announcer Dan Fouts said it perfectly when watching the replay, “That’s just pure speed” and that’s what Coates brings to the table. That speed was tracked, and at 21.78mph, it was the fastest touchdown runner of the week.

Coates might drop a few balls now and then, and hopefully over time, he can fix that, but he is still an extremely valuable player who has shown the capability to make a big play at any given moment, and at only 23 years old, will hopefully be an impactful Steeler for many years to come.


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