I don’t know what it was about the days following the 2015 NFL Draft, a class that included Steelers first-round pick Bud Dupree, but I was on a roll with regards to topics I wanted to write about.
You know how it is when you’re continuously inspired to create, to share your views on various topics? No, just me? OK, well, one such muse that weekend was the official team highlight video the Steelers released shortly after drafting receiver Sammie Coates out of Auburn in the third round.
What really caught my eye were the two or three highlights that showed Coates catching passes in the vicinity (let’s just use that word) of the team’s second-round pick, cornerback Senquez Golson of Ole Miss.
In other words, it looked like Coates owned Golson on these plays; as a writer, I thought it was so funny and ironic that the Steelers would release a highlight video showing the receiver they just selected in the third round repeatedly beating the cornerback they just selected in the second round, I sat in front of my trusty laptop to pen a humorous piece on it for BTSC.
It was received fairly well in the comments section. Unfortunately, not everyone found it funny. I won’t link the article or name names, but a regular at the time (and still, today, perhaps?) chimed in with: “Someone needed to learn what Cover 3 was before writing this.”
Ouch. That really stung. Just how much? Even reading it five years later, it still stings me like Daniel LaRusso’s 1984 kick to the face of Johnny Lawrence still stung him in the pilot episode of the 2018 streaming series, Cobra Kai (spoiler alert).
A few others chimed in with quotes like (and I’m paraphrasing), “Yeah, I could recognize Cover 3, how come you couldn’t, ya’ clown!”
It got further out of hand when I defended my article. The person in question was worried that my propaganda would spread false rhetoric about Golson. Fair enough. Let’s face it, the rhetoric came flying from every direction the minute the 5’9” Golson was taken by Pittsburgh in the second round—or a round or two sooner than a lot of experts anticipated any team would draft him.
The poster in question, being a coach who knew how to break down film, had me beat when it came to recognizing coverages. I admit it, I’ve never claimed to be an expert on things like breaking down offenses and defenses—there are many Facebook memes floating around with my face photo-shopped on a person sitting on a toilet to further hammer home that point.
Those writers that have coaching experience and/or can break down film? They’re held in the highest regard in our writing world—we’re talking Isaac Redman in 2010-level reverence.
They’re the “Thank you for your service” people of the football writing community.
“I just wanted to thank you for your service in helping me learn what a slip screen was.”
“Thank you for your service in pointing out that Mark Barron did drop back into pass coverage more than I realized in 2019.”
“Your coffee is on me for helping me understand what a Cover 3 defense was. Thank you for your service.”
Me, I’m like one of those studio guys in a three-piece suit who puts gel in his hair and screams, “They’re absolutely horrible, Nicky, baby! Call now to hear my Can’t Miss Pick of the Week!”
Anyway, I was hoppin’ mad at that moment (unintentional Easter pun), and if the Steelers were actually selling Sammie Coates jerseys right after the 2015 draft, I may have purchased one just for spite.
I don’t think they were.
So whatever happened to Golson and Coates?
Golson suffered a serious injury in each of his first two training camps and never made it into a game. He sustained another one in his third training camp and was subsequently waived, only to be quickly waived by the next two teams that signed him.
His Wikipedia page currently lists him as a free agent.
As for Coates, after an almost non-existent rookie season (one catch for 11 yards), he had a fairly strong start to his sophomore campaign in which he caught 21 passes and averaged 20.7 yards per reception (and introduced me to the “Feed me” gesture that I still use to this day while bowling). Unfortunately, Coates was never quite the same after suffering broken fingers in a Week 5 win over the Jets. After being traded to the Browns just prior to the 2017 season, Coates bounced around the NFL for a smidge before winding up in the now defunct XFL.
I'm guessing his Wikipedia page will soon be updated.
What’s the moral of the story? I’m not sure, but I guess there’s a lesson in there somewhere about emotionally investing in draft choices before they even set foot on an NFL training camp practice field.
After all, some never do.