Auburn Football: Sammie Coates is a Top 40 NFL Draft Prospect


Auburn football player Sammie Coates is an athletic freak with a bright NFL future. Bright enough for him to be a top 40 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft according to senior analyst Dane Brugler, who discussed Coates’ performance against Alabama in the Iron Bowl:

"Although his production has been spotty in 2014, Coates showed Saturday night why NFL scouts are intrigued by his natural gifts. He set a new career-best with 206 receiving yards on only five catches (41.2 average) and a pair of scores, doubling his touchdown catches on the season."

As Brugler mentioned, Coates’ production has been spotty this season. Following a breakout sophomore performance in 2013, which included 902 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on 42 catches – a 21.5 yards per catch average that ranked third nationally – Coates got off to a very slow start.

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In the first four games of the season (one of which the junior missed with a leg injury), the receiver caught only five total passes for 56 yards without a TD. However, he showed his true potential in the fifth game of the season with a personal-best 144 yards on four receptions, including a 56-yard score. But, as his up-and-down season progressed, Coates caught three passes for 22 yards against Mississippi State and had just one 14-yard reception agains South Carolina before putting up big numbers against Texas A&M.

But, believe it or not, he’s been even more explosive this season statistically after his big game in Tuscaloosa. At the end of the 2014 regular season, Coates has 30 receptions for 717 yards, which is good for a 23.9 yards per catch average – again the third-best mark in the nation.

The natural gifts Coates possesses include a 6-foot-2, 200-plus-pound frame and speed that has been clocked at 4.36 seconds in the ever important 40-yard dash. Coates is a noted workout warrior that boasts impressive numbers in the weight room as well.

But he’s struggled with drops and near misses, and is far from a finished product.

"The negatives on Coates have been his undeveloped route running and inconsistent focus at the catch point. But the Auburn pass-catcher used his speed and burst to stretch the field and give his quarterback enough of a window to give him a chance. And Coates was reliable catching the ball with his hands, utilizing his long arms to finish while in stride. The performance was an excellent example of the raw traits he shows and why he will be considered in the top-40 picks if he chooses to declare early for the 2015 NFL Draft."

Auburn football fans hope Sammie Coates will be back in 2015. Some argue Coates should return because he will improve his draft status by putting together a more consistent season and with rocket-armed quarterback Jeremy Johnson taking the reins from the graduating Nick Marshall, Coates (and fellow underclassman Duke Williams) could put up huge numbers next season for the Tigers.

But what many fans don’t realize is NFL scouts and GMs don’t care about statistics. They care whether or not a player will develop into a playmaker at the professional level. His measurable talents, paired with his on the field performance, make Coates a very intriguing option for NFL teams. He’s got as much upside as any wide receiver in the country.

Coates has until January 15, 2015 to make his decision. If there are other talent evaluators that have Coates as a top 40 prospect, expect Auburn’s bowl game to be his last in a Tigers uniform.

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