While a contract extension earlier in the offseason made Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger a happy man, the Steelers third round draft pick on Friday made him even happier.
Kevin Colbert and company selected Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates with the 87th selection of the 2015 NFL draft. Coates joins former Steelers receivers Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace as third round selections.
Unlike the selection of Senquez Golson in the second round, Coates joins a wide receiver group filled with talent and proven commodities.
Leading the group is All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. The former Central Michigan pass catcher registered 129 catches in 2014, the second most receptions in the regular season for any player in NFL history. Brown cemented himself as one of the best receivers in the NFL in 2014 despite his 5'10'', 186 lbs size. He will look to have his fourth 1,000 yard receiving year in his sixth season in the league.
Opposite of Brown last season was second year wide receiver Markus Wheaton. Wheaton didn't see the field much in his first year on the team, but that changed in 2014. The former Oregon State Beaver started 11 games and caught 53 balls for 644 yards with two touchdowns. Many think he is best suited to play in the slot and he may very well find himself headed there in 2015 with the addition of Coates. Coates is an outside deep-threat, but he could also play in the slot.
The receiver that lessened Wheaton's time on the field last season was rookie pass catcher Martavis Bryant. The Steelers fourth round selection in 2014 wasn't active until Week 7 of the season. But once he took the field, the Steelers had trouble taking Bryant off it.
The former Clemson pass catcher caught four touchdowns in the next four weeks, finishing with eight touchdowns on the season while catching 26 passes for 549 yards.
The addition of Bryant gave Roethlisberger a big target in the red zone while also providing a deep threat. Bryant will only continue to develop and will most likely play an even larger role in the offense this season.
Also on the Steelers roster is seven-year veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey. Bey saw limited snaps on offense in 2014, mainly contributing on special teams. In addition, the Steelers have wide receivers L'Damian Washington, C.J. Goodwin and Brelan Chancellor. But, it's unlikely any of the three make the Steelers 2015 active roster.
With the top three on the depth chart fairly entrenched, Coates will likely be the fourth receiver for the Steelers on game day. But if Coates struggles, he could very well be fifth behind Heyward-Bey.