The Steelers managed to snag WR Sammie Coates from Auburn in the 3rd round of this year’s draft. Possessing 4.43 forty speed, alongside great size at 6 ft 1 in., 212 lbs., he has the potential to be a deadly deep threat.
The knock on him? He has questionable hands that hindered his draft stock.
Nevertheless, the Steelers have experience with coaching up young, raw, and talented wide receivers. Last year it was Martavis Bryant, who blossomed into his own after an eventful night versus the Texans. Before him, it was Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and All-Pro WR Antonio Brown.
Antonio Brown has unbelievable work ethic that has made him the player he is today. Its like a contagious disease, infecting the entire wide receiver corps.
You could see it Martavis’ game, how much he had improved in just a few months. He also was considered raw with “poor hands”.
Never being satisfied with himself, I specifically remember during their bye week that Bryant had made his way out to California to work on his hand fighting techniques to better fight for the ball against cornerbacks who love contests.
Markus Wheaton has shown steady improvement as well. The 3rd round pick looks to compete with Martavis for the number 2 spot opposite Antonio Brown.
Sammie Coates is in competition with veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey for the number 4 spot. Heyward-Bey has the major edge over the rookie, not because of catching ability, but because of his ability to block downfield.
Darrius signed a new contract with the Steelers recently during the offseason, mostly for the veteran presence, special teams, and the aforementioned blocking.
Because of the veteran’s skill set, Sammie Coates will have to prove himself on special teams and better his hands to have a shot to roll with the big boys.
The Steelers will no doubt exploit this competition during training camp. They all share a brotherly type bond that will only serve to strengthen their game.
This squad has the potential to be the best in the NFL. The high powered offense of yesteryear returns for another season of wreaking havoc upon opposing defenses and giving defensive coordinators a reason to turn on their night lights and clutch their teddy bears dearly.
With Big Ben slinging the football better than ever, this wide receiver corps will leave their mark upon the stone that is the NFL.
Stats and info courtesy of NFL.com and Steelers.com