The Pittsburgh Steelers were hoping for another vertical threat when they drafted Sammie Coates, but after a disappointing start to his career, where does he stand in the wide receiver rotation?
It’s been three years since the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Sammie Coates in the third-round of the 2015 NFL Draft. With hope in their eyes, Pittsburgh believed they just drafted another deep threat to add to their talented receiving core.
After two years of disappointment, though, the transition away from Coates may have begun. With the addition of JuJu Smith-Schuster and the return of Martavis Bryant, Coates’ place in this receiving core has quickly deteriorated.
Now, not only does Coates have to compete for playing time with Smith, but he’ll also have to prove his worth over second-year man, Eli Rogers. Unless there has been drastic improvement over the offseason, Coates’ place in this rotation may be bottom of the barrel.
Right now, the assumed starters for the 2017 season are Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant on the outside and Eli Rogers at the slot. Although Bryant won’t be handed anything after missing all of 2016 for a positive PED test, he’s the favorite to win the job during the offseason.
JuJu Smith-Schuster will be the second outside man behind Brown and Bryant. Depending on the scheme Pittsburgh is running at the time, he and Rogers will likely be the second line of receivers.
Before organized team activities (OTA’s) and minicamp begin, Coates is likely competing with Darius Heyward-Bay and Cobi Hamilton as the third string of wideouts. Coates may also be fighting for playing time with an offseason signee depending on how much they plan on using Justin Hunter this season.
Right now, it doesn’t look good for Coates. Pittsburgh is building a dominant offense and surrounding Ben Roethlisberger with plenty of talented pass catchers. With reliable hands to compete with, Coates needs to turn 42.9% reception rate around fast before he’s on his way out.
With or without him, Pittsburgh is going to be okay. He’s fallen to nothing more than a third-string receiver who has two more years on his rookie contract to prove himself.
Don’t expect a lot from Coates this season. He’s a player who’s already becoming a bit of a bust for the Steelers. His speed and deep ball skills are perfect for this offseason, but until he’s able to consistently catch the ball, his time in Pittsburgh is limited.
Coates is a work-in-progress who’ll be pushed out of reps this season with the added depth the Steelers have. As promising as he seemed when he came to Pittsburgh, Coates’ role is decreasing as his time with the team is coming to an end.