NGSC Sports

Sammie Coates: Most Gifted Draft Eligible Size, Speed Combination

[airesizeimg src=”” alt=”Screen Shot 2014-09-06 at 12.22.05 AM” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6207″ ]


Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates hails from Leroy, Alabama where he starred at Leroy high school. As a senior, Coates caught 57 passes for 1,170 yards and 14 touchdowns. During his final high school season, he also led his team to an Alabama Class 2A state championship. His stellar performance during the championship game earned him MVP honors.

Rated as the No.24 wide receiver in the nation, and the No.6 recruit in Alabama, Coates committed to Auburn. Unfortunately, he sustained a broken foot during the preseason, which forced him to redshirt his freshman year. In his second season at Auburn he had just six receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns.

As a redshirt sophomore, Coates had a breakout season as he recorded 43 receptions for 902 yards and seven touchdowns. When the Tigers needed a big play through the air, the majority of the time, they looked in Coates direction. He was third in the nation in yards per catch last season (21.5), and averaged 54.1 yards per touchdown catch. Coates also had 14 receptions of 30-plus yards in 2013.

Heading into the 2014 season, Coates name headlines many preseason awards lists. He was named preseason all-SEC first team, Maxwell and Biletnikoff Award watch lists, and was named the top “freak” in college football by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports.

Coates is expected to have another great year, and potentially enter his name into the 2015 NFL draft. Below, I’ll delve deeper into the attributes he possesses that NFL teams will covet.



Coates does an outstanding job of quickly getting into his routes and not wasting a lot of time with moves at the line of scrimmage. If he’s pressed at the line of scrimmage, he regularly uses his hands to rid himself of the defender. His speed also allows him to eat up cushion if the cornerback decides to play off of him. His strength combined with his speed aids him in consistently achieving a clean release at the line of scrimmage.


Route Running

Coates does not run a wide array of routes in Auburn’s offense, but that is not to say he’s incapable of enhancing his repertoire upon heading into the NFL. At the moment, Coates runs primarily hitches, screens, posts, and go routes. On hitches, he should work on coming back to the football more aggressively, and on posts, he must learn to stick the route at the stem as opposed to rounding it off.


Despite his flaws and inexperience as a route runner, Coates regularly gets outstanding separation, especially on the go route.  Coates effortlessly runs past defensive backs and safeties, which has enabled him to become one of the more explosive players in the SEC.  While it is unknown whether or not he possesses the short area quickness to achieve separation on short, to intermediate routes one thing is clear; he possesses the type of athleticism to create separation on the go route at any level.

With the threat of a mobile quarterback in Nick Marshall, it’s difficult to judge Coates ability to consistently gain separation on his own on intermediate routes.  Many of Coates explosive plays came as a result of the defense aggressively attacking the line of scrimmage, which left Coates wide open as illustrated by the play option pass (P.O.P) below.

[airesizeimg src=”” alt=”Sammie Coates Play Option Pass Gif” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6212″ ]

If the defensive end crashes down on the play fake to the running back, the quarterback keeps the football. If the cornerback is playing man and his back is turned to the quarterback, the quarterback will keep the football and pick up as much yardage as possible on the ground. If the cornerback breaks free from the wide receiver and attempts to come up and make a play on the quarterback, the quarterback will do exactly what Marshall did in the aforementioned video; hit Coates in stride for the long touchdown.

With that said, it would be difficult to surmise that he’d have difficulty gaining separation at the next level given his natural athleticism.



While Coates has routinely proven to have solid hands, he has been prone to some focus drops in the past. Improper hand placement catching the football away from his body has resulted in dropped passes as well. Coates does a fine job tracking the football downfield on either side of his body, and he will highpoint the football when necessary as well, however he does struggle to locate the deep ball that goes directly over the wide receiver’s helmet as illustrated in the below video.

[airesizeimg src=”” alt=”Sammie Coates Drop Gif” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6211″ ]

Every year, wide receivers are asked to make this particular catch at the NFL combine. Coates should look to improve upon tracking the football over his head.


Run After Catch (R.A.C)

Coates is absolutely a straight-line runner, and is not the type of wide receiver that will string moves together to make defenders miss in the open field. With that said, his strength as well as his speed makes him a force to be reckoned with after the catch. Below is one video illustrating his strength, and the other highlighting his breakaway speed.

[airesizeimg src=”” alt=”Sammie Coates Stiff Arm” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6214″ ]

[airesizeimg src=”” alt=”Sammie Coates Speed Gif” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6215″ ]



Malzahn’s offense is comprised of spread principles, but Auburn is a run-heavy team that is predicated on diminishing their opponents’ will. Blocking in Malzahn’s system is important particularly on the flanks. Auburn wide receivers know that if they don’t block, they won’t play, which is why Coates has learned to take tremendous pride in this area of his game. Coates does an exceptional job engaging his target under control, keeping a shoulders-width base and extending his arms to lock out defenders.



The most talented size, speed combination draft eligible wide receiver is undeniably Sammie Coates. At 6-foot-2, 201 pounds, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds on an electric timing system over the summer.  Coates has great timed speed as evidenced by his 40 time; but his timed speed also translates to the football field. His ability to consistently “stack” (place defensive backs in a trail position) defensive backs is a direct result of his long speed. If he makes big plays in 2014 at the rate he did last season, his name will be called in the earlier portions of the 2015 NFL draft.



Coates is more athlete than wide receiver at the moment as he has yet to master the nuances of the position. As a route runner, he runs each route at top speed, which makes it more difficult to set up defenders/sell routes. Though Coates is a solid hands catcher of the football, he struggles catching the football outside of his frame due to failure to look the ball in, and hand positioning. Nonetheless, Coates has tremendous upside, and his athleticism and work ethic will be too intriguing for teams to pass on come next year’s draft. Coates will likely be selected late round one – early round two.


Likely Landing Spots

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