Rookie Player Profile: Sammie Coates

Matt Caraccio



Sammie Coates, WR
Pittsburgh Steelers
Draft Status: Round 3, Pick 23, 87th Overall

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Coates was once heralded as one the “physical freaks” of college football – that was just prior to his Senior season. Although marred by injury throughout his Senior campaign, Coates continued to show the top shelf athleticm he had become so well kown for. The first thing you will notice about Coates is he is an incredibly explosive athlete. He has excellent accelaration and long speed. The second thing you will notice is Coates is a strong and physically imposing player on the football field. On deep routes and slants over the middle of the field, Coates is very difficult to redirect. In tightly contested situations, however, he is still learning to use his size effectively. On slant routes he does a nice job of sheilding a defender on his back, yet on curl routes he doesn’t always work back upfield to attack the football at it’s highest point. After the catch, Coates has both the agility to avoid tackles, and the power to break them. As a catcher of the football, he is a polarizing evaluation.  On deep routes, Coates is functional tracking the ball over his shoulder. I believe this will improve in time. Coates is an NFL ready deep threat and should see the field early. In time he could develop into very good red zone threat as he develops his overall game.


Coates is neither a refined route runner, nor an exceptional catcher of the football. As a route runner he is not only limited in terms of the variety of routes he can run, but he also shows very little nuance in the execution of his routes – this lack of refinement compounds Coates’ inconsistencies catching the football. Despite possessing strong hands, Coates will at times inexplicably botch a reception. As result. he will primarily be used as a deep threat from day one.


The Steelers seem poised to build on last seasons success in the passing game and become one of the NFL’s elite offenses this upcoming season. With a stable of wide receivers that includes Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton, one might think Coates will be the odd man out. I disagree. Coates offers more than Wheaton at the position and I suspect Coates will supplant him on the depth chart by season’s end. Coates may not be a complete receiver, but in Pittsburgh’s offense, he won’t be asked to be, either. He will most likely be asked to line up on the outside at either the split end (X) or flanker (Z) position. In this role he will be poised to  do what he does best; run deep routes or slant routes across the middle of the field. At some point, I can see his role in the offense diversifying as Pittsburgh begins to try and use his strength and run after the catch ability to leverage the defense between playing the run v pass. Coates’ role should evolve over time as he and the Steelers become better acquainted.


The most immediate concerns surrounding Coates’ landing spot is that he joins a wide receiving corps that already boasts two incredible talents. The planet theory is as applicable in football as in science – the gravitional force surrounding Antonio Brown in that passing offense is stronger than that of Jupiter in the sense he devours targets. The only respite for the other recievers on the team is the tactical value a taller reciever could bring to the offense – enter Martavis Bryant.  Bryant is an ascending talent who looked good at the end of last year. However, most of Bryant’s success came in high leverage situations like deep routes and targets in the red zone. Where does Coates fit into this picture? He brings a punishing physical dimension to the position that will add to an already potent Pittsburgh offense. Bubble screens on second down, quick slants to move the chains on third down, deep routes on third and long and even the occasional end around are some of the areas where I see Coates carving out a role.


Coates will likely be a package player early this season. By season’s end, Coates will likely earn a bigger role as he gets used to the NFL game. He has the potential to stress defenses in a variety ways and as his career progresses, the Steelers may look like they stole him in the draft.

NFL Comparison

A more refined Cordarrelle Patterson.

Projected Range for Draft

Sammie Coates’ current ADP has him being selected as the 24th rookie overall from this draft class. Based upon this information it seems safe to assume Coates can be had with a late second or early third round draft pick in rookie drafts. I suspect Coates’ price might even bottom out as a middle to late third round pick as players like Justin Hardy (ATL), Javoris Allen (BAL), Josh Robinson (IND), Kenny Bell (TB) and Rashad Greene (JAX) begin to inch their way up boards. In addition, Coates’ lack of immediate opportunity in Pittsburgh may scare owners away. If he should fall in your league, grab him. He has as much athletic potential as any player in this class.