With Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant suspended for the first four games of the 2015 NFL season, who could possibly step up in his absence?
Bryant was able to secure over 20% of Big Ben’s stats last season, so there are plenty of targets for others to pick up. One player that can expect some first-team reps is rookie receiver Sammie Coates.
Along with Darrius Heywerd-Bay, Coates is listed around the 4th or 5th slot in the depth chart at wide receiver. This preseason so far, Coates has 8 receptions for 124 yards.
The 6-foot-1 monster is the perfect balance between speed and strength. He ran a 4.43-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, not too shabby.
In Coates’ last two seasons with Auburn, he managed to rack in 1,643 receiving yards, along with 11 TD’s. It is important to remember that Auburn is a very run-heavy offense, so Coates’ stats are impressive to say the least.
Based on his size and durability, expect the Steelers to utilize Coates in the red zone, as well as the occasional deep ball. Martavis Bryant tends to be Big Ben’s go-to-guy when it comes to those big plays, but Coates can be just as talented in that area.
Does this mean that Coates will be a breakout player in 2015? No. All this means is that the Steelers will be fine without Martavis Bryant. Both Bryant and Coates have a similar structure and style of play.
I would expect Roethlisberger to give the rookie a couple chances, and you may even see a touchdown or two from him before Bryant returns in week five.