With Martavis Bryant suspended for the entire 2016 season, someone has to step up and fill his void. Markus Wheaton, has been thought to be the favorite to receive the bulk of Bryant’s reps. However, the Steelers do have at least one other option. Most notably of which is second-year receiver Sammie Coates out of Auburn.
Coates, the Steelers’ third-round draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, had first-round talent coming out of college. So, he has all the physical attributes needed to be an elite receiver in the NFL. At 6’2″ 201 lbs, he has good size and is actually taller than Wheaton (5’11”). He actually seems to play taller than that 6’2″ frame of his. He also has the ability to get behind the secondary and make big plays.
The knock on Sammie Coates coming out of Auburn is his tendency to drop a few too many passes. Coates’ success in the NFL will mostly depend on him improving that aspect of his game. Every other aspect seems to be intact.
Many people (including me) thought Coates should have gone back to Auburn for his senior season. Like many players that come out as a junior, he obviously had things he needed to work on. That’s why he slipped to the 3rd round. However, if this opportunity works out for him, he can prove all of us wrong.
Here’s a little footage of Sammie Coates at Auburn.
Now, a look at Sammie Coates as a Steeler and why they drafted him, even though they had Bryant.
Wheaton, has the advantage of being a bit more experienced than Coates. The Steelers’ third-round pick in 2013 has mostly seen action in the slot. Especially, so after the emergence of Bryant on the outside. While, Wheaton also has the ability to make big plays, he’s not quite as dynamic as Coates. He just may be a little bit more dependable, which could work into his favor.
Whomever, is called upon to fill Bryant’s shoes will have ample opportunity to produce opposite the leagues best wideout, Antonio Brown. One-on-one opportunities should be the norm with defenses focusing on slowing down AB.
Head coach Mike Tomlin, and offensive coordinator Todd Haley have an important decision, to say the least. Do they go with more stability and Markus Wheaton, or do they gamble and go more upside with Sammie Coates? Should be interesting to see what the Steelers come up with as the start of the season gets closer.