Entering the 2015 NFL Draft Pittsburgh Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert promised that the Steelers would not draft for need. So far he’s made good on his word, after drafting outside linebacker Bud Dupree in the first round, and attempting to trade up to get tight end Maxx Williams before drafting cornerback Senquez Golson in the second round.
- Next, the Steelers drafted Sammie Coates wide receiver out of Auburn in the third round, a move that clearly was not aimed at any pressing need on the depth chart.
In drafting Sammie Coates in the third round, the Steelers also continued a franchise tradition.
Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders, leave a tough act to follow, but his production in college makes it easy to understand that the Steelers draft Sammie Coates as early as the third round.
Sammie Coates stands at 6’2” and weighs 215 pounds and was ranked by the Scout.com website as the 13th best receiver in the draft. Last year he 34 passes for 741 yards and four touchdowns last season for the Tigers. Coats could have returned to Auburn and played one final season as a 5th year senior, but instead he chose to finish his degree in public administration and graduated in December.
Video Highlights on Sammie Coates
Unlike Senquez Golson there’s are ample embeddable video highlights on the internet of Sammie Coats, which we’re happy to share with you today thanks to the magic of YouTube:
Clearly, Sammie Coates likes going deep, but Coates’ highlight reel also shows solid after the catch ability.
How Sammie Coats Fits into the Steelers Plans
Wide receiver was not one of the Steelers more pressing draft needs by any reasonable measure – which does not mean picking him in the third round was a mistake. A year ago, however, the Steelers depth chat at wide receiver had at least three if not four spots open.
- Now the top three spots on the Steelers wide receiver depth chart are filled, even if the order isnt’set.
No one is pushing Antoino Brown for the top spot, but there will be competition between Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant for the number two slot. The loser will inherit the number 3 slot.
That leaves the number four slot for Coates, where his only competition is Darrius Heyward-Bey. While Hewyard-Bey isn’t expected to give Coates much competition, Steelers wide reciever’s coach Richard Mann knows that Sammie Coates is far from a finished product, and pulled no punches in his assessment of the Steelers third round pick:
We got a guy that needs some work but is a great athlete. He has some problems straight ahead catching a football, but that’s why we have drills. With a chance to coach him up, we feel we can make that better.
When assessing the more subjective side of Coates game, Mann was even more blunt:
They didn’t play him every down, a lot of personnel groupings. What happens is he disappears. He’s back in there. He disappears. He’s back in there. A lot of times, in my opinion, players have a tendency to lose concentration simply because they weren’t involved and then you bring them back in the heat of battle. That’s not an excuse for him. That’s what I saw. I’ve been around a lot of players, If you’re not using them, they lose focus. I think that might have been some of it.
Which isn’t to say that Mann was down on Coates, but it rather shows that Mann is unusually frank for an position coach speaking on draft day. In fact Mann went at great lengths to praise Coates athletic skills, and his toughness, particularly after the catch and in plays such as screen passes, which force wide receivers to lower their shoulders and get physical.
Richard Mann is someone who has been around a long time, someone whom Mike Tomlin had to bring out of retirement after Scottie Montgomery returned/was forced back to Duke. This is a man who has been around long enough to coach for the Baltimore Colts, the original Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Ravens.
- Richard Mann exudes a “Been there, done that” ethos.
In short, he’s the perfect mentor for a young player like Coates. Welcome to Steelers Nation Sammie Coates.