The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up ninth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of wide receiver Sammie Coates.
Intro: Coates’ 2016 season started off with a bang as the former third-round draft pick out of Auburn recorded 19 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns in the Steelers first five games and that included five receptions of 41 yards or more. A hand/finger injury suffered by Coates during Week 5, however, quickly changed the course of his season and while he played through it and dressed for the next nine regular season games, he only caught two more passes for 14 yards from that point forward and his playing time was reduced to him predominately serving as a special teams contributor.
Current Strengths: Coates’ speed remains his biggest asset and that has resulted in nearly a third of his career receptions being explosive plays of 20 yards or more. He is a legitimate deep threat and a player defenses must respect. Coates is also a physical player and he showed that last season when asked to play on special teams following his injury.
Current Weaknesses: Mentally, Coates struggled last season after suffering his hand/finger injury as he failed to catch several passes thrown his way and that ultimately led to him only being used sparingly on offense. While he has proven to be a deep threat so far during his young career, he can currently be characterized as a one-trick pony and thus needs to improve his route running in hopes that he can contribute more consistently in a shorter passing game when it’s needed.
2017 Outlook: Assuming Coates makes the final 53-man roster this year out of training camp, he will more than likely be used as a complimentary backup wide receiver for the Steelers in 2017. Such a depth chart spot will also likely require him to play on special teams again like he did last season and that’s a phase of the game he’s shown he can do reasonably well and quite possibly can improve upon. Assuming the Steelers wide receivers all stay healthy and out of trouble with the league, Coates might be hard-pressed to hit 30 receptions in 2017. In short, a 20-25 reception 2017 season is probably a reasonable outlook for him.
2017 Base Salary: $615,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $797,379
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program despite undergoing groin surgery following 2016 season
2016 Health Status: Missed final two regular season games with hamstring injury and battled through a hand/finger injury from Week 5 on
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 313 of 1,083
2016 Stat That Matters: Averaged 20.7 yards per reception on 21 total catches in 2016
|Ben Roethlisberger||Cameron Heyward||Jesse James||James Harrison||Antonio Brown|
|Ryan Shazier||Le’Veon Bell||Mike Mitchell|