When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Sammie Coates in the 3rd round of the 2015 draft, I sort of shrugged. I didn’t love the pick, and I didn’t hate it either.
I also wasn’t surprised, as I called it in my final mock draft, because the Steelers showed a lot of interest in the pre-draft process.
Before the draft I didn’t really want Coates. I felt that Sammie could be another Limas Sweed, and also felt if the team added another receiver, I wanted a slot man that could also return kicks.
However, since the draft hoopla has died down, I’ve had more time to dig into Sammie’s game and I see less Limas Sweed, and more of a recently retired, and sure-fire hall of famer.
Coates was selected in the 3rd round (87th overall). The man I’m talking about was drafted in the 3rd round (89th overll) in the 1996 NFL draft. Terrell Owens.
Now, I realize that comparing a mid-round pick to a hall of famer is probably crazy. I’m not saying that Coates will be the receiver that Owens was, but I am saying that he has the skills to potentially be successful.
I’ve seen the Martavis Bryant comparisons, and I get that, but I also think it’s sort of off base.
To me, Martavis Bryant is Chris Henry. Bryant is a tall, lanky receiver that beast people by running past them and catching passes that fall into the basket, or can occasionally go over top of defenders for it.
Coates has an impressive 40 time, and definitely has plenty of speed… but to me he’s not the type of receiver that’s just going to blow by guys. Coates seems like he likes to get a little dirty when he’s running his routes.
While most of his plays in college were down the field, he often made them by out-muscling his defender at the line and when the ball was in the air. If you want to see a perfect example of Coates getting nasty, check out the play below.
Coates also isn’t the string bean that Bryant is. There’s not a lot of highlights of Sammie using his body to push guys around (like the one above), but I think that if he works on his route-running this could be where he’s really the most dangerous.
Terrell Owens was built like a linebacker, and while he had plenty of speed to go deep; he made a career out of bullying cornerbacks.
Early word is that the Steelers will make Coates a slot receiver, so maybe they see him in that same light. From that position Coates will be a matchup problem. If you put a slot corner on him he’s going to out-muscle them, and if you put a linebacker on him he’s going to run by them.
So why wasn’t Coates selected higher if he’s so great?
Two things. His hands and his route running. Like Martavis Bryant, he’s very raw. This is another spot where I see an Owens parallel.
T.O. was dominant throughout his career, but he also had problems with drops. Some guys just are so good though you just live through the drops.
Coates will need to become a better route runner though, if he wants to really dominate at the next level. Lucky for him he can learn from the best route runner in the league, Antonio Brown.
There’s a long way to go, but after watching some more of Sammie Coates, I came away thinking that the ceiling could be incredibly high if he’s developed correctly.