For the Pittsburgh Steelers, everyone universally agreed on the three most pressing needs in the 2015 NFL draft -- CB, Safety, and OLB -- probably in that order. After that, the team could look to fill some less pressing needs like defensive line depth or tight end. I don't think there is any doubt the Steelers hit on all these points:
1st Round: Bud Dupree (OLB)
2nd Round: Senquez Golson (CB)
3rd Round: Sammie Coates (WR)
4th Round: Doran Grant (CB)
5th Round: Jesse James (TE)
6th Round: L.T. Walton (DE)
6th Round (Comp. Pick): Anthony Chickillo (OLB)
7th Round: Gerod Holliman (S)
It is clear the Steelers went into the draft with a clear plan and for the most part they stuck to it. The pick I am still having a hard time wrapping my head around is the Sammie Coates pick in the third round.
Coates came into the draft as one of the best cases of a boom-or-bust prospect. On the one hand, he has the frame of a NFL caliber wide receiver. He is a consistent deep threat and had some great games in college, like his 206 yards and two touchdown performance against Alabama. He also posted some very good numbers at the NFL combine being in the top five of four out of the seven major statistical categories.
He does, however, come with the same amount of risk. He had a drop rate of 19.1%, which immediately conjured up bad memories of Limas Sweed for many Steelers' fans. He is not a very good route runner, and he does not have very good body control when matching up against defenders. NFL.com put it best in Coates' draft profile:
"He has early round traits and late-round receiving skills right now..."
From the same NFL draft profile comes his current NFL comparison... Martavis Bryant.
This is one of the main reasons I struggle to understand the pick. Last year the Steelers drafted a Sammie Coates clone that turned out better than expected. In fact, Bryant started in the second wide receiver spot ahead of Markus Wheaton to end the season. So, they have a better version of Sammie Coates already on the roster. At best, Coates will be the third wide receiver on this team, but it is highly unlikely he will beat out Wheaton for that spot due to his issues holding onto the football consistently. With two years left on Wheaton's contract, that means the Steelers spent a third round pick on the fourth wide receiver of the depth chart. With how little the Steelers run four wide receiver sets, Coates will likely not see the field very much.
With a player like Steven Nelson (CB, Oregon State) still on the board, who eventually went to the Chiefs eleven picks later, I am not sure why the Steelers drafted a wide receiver this year. The draft is so hit or miss that teams use three or four picks for a position of need. By sheer numbers, many times teams luck out and get one, maybe two starters. The team would have done well to spend this pick to gain even more secondary depth and saved addressing their wide receiver needs until later in the draft or next year's draft.