After trading away tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Kenny Stills, the New Orleans Saints are now in the market for a wide receiver. A possible scenario is drafting one in the early rounds of the upcoming selection process, which is set to kick off Thursday, April 30 in Chicago. Auburn wideout Sammie Coates could be available for Sean Payton and GM Mickey Loomis in the second, maybe third round.
Coates, a junior, fuses together a rare composite of size, strength and speed. He’s explosive, lengthy, shows outstanding separation, great leaping ability and finds success at underneath routes, which could make him an ideal slot option in the Saints’ offense. However, his vertical presence on the outside is also something that could amplify New Orleans’ high-octane offense.
Sammie Coates impressed at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, finishing at the top of several categories among wide receivers.
Weight: 212 LBS
Arm length: 33 3/8 inches
Hands: 9 3/8 inches
40-yard dash: 4.43 secs (7th among WRs)
Bench press (225 LBS): 23 reps (top performer)
Vertical jump: 41.0 inches (top performer)
Broad jump: 131 inches (top performer)
3-cone drill: 6.98 secs
20-yard shuttle: 4.06 secs (top performer)
60-yard shuttle: 11.81 secs
"2013 | Big-play threat … third in nation in yards per catch (21.5) and averaged 54.1 yards per touchdown catch … started 12 games … had 14 receptions of 30+ yards … three catches gained 44 yards vs. Washington State … 68-yard TD catch from Nick Marshall vs. Arkansas State was a career long, and the first 60+ yard pass play for Auburn since 2010 … three catches for 55 yards vs. Mississippi State … 139 yards on four catches at LSU, with long gains of 42 and 52 yards … two catches vs. Ole Miss … 104 yards on five catches at Texas A&M, including a 43-yard touchdown … gained 113 yards on just three catches vs. Florida Atlantic, with TDs of 67 and 36 yards from Jeremy Johnson … 88-yard TD reception from Marshall at Arkansas was third longest pass play in AU history; had 102 yards receiving vs. Arkansas, his third consecutive 100-yard game … had two of AU’s three receptions in Tennessee win … four catches in Georgia win … 39-yard fourth-quarter TD to tie the game with 0:32 remaining was one of two catches in win over Alabama … 94 yards receiving, 38-yard TD catch in SEC championship game vs. Missouri … four receptions gained 61 yards in the BCS title game2014 | Talented wide receiver who was a three-year starter … declared in December for early entry into the NFL Draft … finished with a 19-game reception streak … second team all-SEC (coaches, AP, Phil Steele) … 10th in career receiving at Auburn (1,757 yards) with seven career 100-yard games … 13 career TD receptions … 13-yard reception vs. Arkansas … did not play against San José State because of injury … pair of catches for 24 yards at Kansas State … two catches for 19 yards vs. Louisiana Tech … 144 yards on four catches vs. LSU, with a 56-yard TD … three catches at Mississippi State … 122 yards on five catches at Ole Miss, with a 57-yard TD catch from Marshall … two catches gained 58 yards vs. Texas A&M … three catches for 31 yards at Georgia … 64 yards on two receptions vs. Samford … Auburn Iron Bowl-record 206 yards receiving at Alabama on five catches, with TDs of 34 and 68 yards … four receptions in Outback Bowl … SEC Community Service Team … AFCA Good Works Team, Wuerffel Trophy nominee … preseason all-SEC first team (SEC media, Phil Steele, Birmingham News, Lindy’s, Sporting News); second team (Athlon, CFB Matrix) … Maxwell Award, Biletnikoff Award watch lists … named the top “freak” in college football by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports … invited to Reese’s Senior Bowl … NFL Combine"
Of course, with strengths, come weaknesses for most players. Sammie Coates consistently struggled with drops during his time at Auburn, which could haunt him at the next level. According to NFL.com, he had a drop rate of 19.1 percent. However, a majority were focus drops — something that can be improved with a little practice under a good coaching staff.
Sammie Coates was also a limited route runner, only posing a threat to opposing defenses in underneaths and verticals — he must broaden his horizon. His speed during deep routes must remain consistent as well. He’ll often slow down, resulting in overthrows and poor ball tracking.
Coates is a project that will need some coaching up to become a long-term producer in the NFL. However, given his excellent physical abilities, his ceiling is high and could wind paying generously to the team that drafts him. Could the New Orleans Saints be that team?