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2015 NFL Draft: What you should know about Steelers rookie WR Sammie Coates

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Here's some things you should know about the Steelers newest wide receiver, Auburn's Sammie Coates.

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Did Steelers General Manager and wide receiver talent guru Kevin Colbert select another future star Friday night?

It's too early to tell, but there's no question that third round pick Sammie Coates has the tools to become a key part of the Steelers' offense in the future.

Here's five facts about the Auburn wide receiver that will look to add his name to the list of successful receivers drafted during the Colbert era:

Coates cruises to big gains on pass plays

While he only caught 82 passes in three years at Auburn, Coates tallied 1,757 receiving yards to average a staggering 21.4 yards per catch for his career. After racking up 902 yards on 42 catches for a 21.5 yards per catch average as a sophomore, Coates caught 34 passes for a yards per carry average of 21.8 yards to go with four scores in 2014. During the Tigers' run to the BCS National Championship Game in 2013, Coates averaged 54.1 yards per touchdown reception on his seven touchdown catches that season, and had 14 catches of over 30 yards.

Coates' receiving numbers are very similar to that of Martavis Bryant, the Steelers fourth round draft pick a year ago. Bryant, who also entered the NFL after three years in college, caught 61 passes at Clemson for 1,354 yards for an average of 22.2 yards per catch to go with 13 career touchdowns.

Saving his best for the best

Sometimes, a player's college stats can be inflated after big games against lesser competition. That wasn't the case with Coates, who had arguably his best college football game against the best team he faced as a junior. Matched up against then-No.1 Alabama, Coates pulled down five catches for 206 yards and touchdowns in 2014.

In 2013, Coates literally turned the tide with a 39-yard touchdown reception with 32 seconds left in Auburn's eventual win over Alabama. In the Tigers win over Missouri later that season in the SEC Championship Game, Coates tallied 94 receiving yards that included a 38-yard touchdown reception.

Coates has seemingly always had the ability to rise to the occasion in big games; he earned the Alabama 2A State Championship Game MVP award by leading Leroy High School to the title with two touchdown catches in the title game.

A physical specimen

Standing at 6'1'' and 212 pounds, Coates was named the top "freak" in college football by Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports this past season. Coates, who was recorded as running a 4.3 in the 40-yard dash, is a physical receiver that drew the following praise for his physical attribute in his bio on

"Outstanding combination of size and speed. Good acceleration off the snap for a receiver with his length. Can take top off defense and open up the underneath. Will beat bold cornerbacks over the top if they wait to turn and run. Forces cornerbacks onto their heels and gets easy, open looks on dig routes. Makes easy in-cut with maximum separation. Ability to win big plays vertically."

"I think the sky’s the limit for him"

The following quote was made about Coates by Steelers receivers coach Richard Mann on Mann praised Coates for his ability to win the 50/50 battles for the ball with cornerbacks down field during his time in college. Mann also liked Coates' blocking ability, something that will come in handy on the pro level while making room on the edges for Steelers All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell.

"We’ll put him in spots where he can excel. He can take the top off the coverage," Mann said in the interview with Mike Prisuta. "His most redeeming quality is tracking the ball down the field. He’s tough enough to get yards after the catch and to contribute in the running game. He’ll block, he’ll dig out safeties, (and he'll) put his pads down. He’s not afraid..."I think the sky’s the limit for him."

Quick to reach the end zone, quick to hit the books

Coates' success at Auburn wasn't reserved for the football field. Enrolling in Auburn in 2011, Coates earned his degree in less than four years, receiving his diploma in December of 2014 with a degree in Public Administration.