Martavis Bryant Says JuJu Smith-Schuster Is Sammie Coates' Replacement

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates (14) makes a catch during NFL football practice, Wednesday, May 25, 2016, in Pittsburgh. The Steelers will be relying on the rest of the receiving corps to help the offense thrive with wide reciver Martavis Bryant out for the year for violating the league's substance abuse policy. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Juju Smith-Schuster will likely be replacing someone in the Pittsburgh Steelers' long-term plans after being selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft.

Martavis Bryant made it abundantly clear (in a since-deleted tweet) he does not expect it to be him, per The Score:

theScore @theScore

Martavis Bryant throws teammate Sammie Coates under the bus after Steelers draft WR 👀 https://t.co/jgvNasm9sH https://t.co/Ho7kR1SnRk

Coates and coach Mike Tomlin responded:

Sammie Coates @sammiecoates11

Hahahahahaha https://t.co/dix482BWyl

Mike Tomlin @CoachTomlin

Play nice boys. @ThaBestUNO @sammiecoates11

Sammie Coates @sammiecoates11

No nice playing in football! See you Monday coach. https://t.co/0f3AMbe8GH

Bryant, 25, was reinstated from a year-long suspension earlier this month. He recorded 50 receptions for 765 yards and six touchdowns in 2015, emerging as one of the most explosive downfield options in football. Drug suspensions have, however, cost him 20 games of his NFL career.

Coates, 24, had 21 receptions for 435 yards and two touchdowns in 2016. He largely disappointed as Bryant's seeming replacement in the receiving corps. 

The Steelers were left almost without a consistent downfield threat with Bryant out, and their receivers averaged a shaky 11.5 yards per reception. Top receivers Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers averaged 12.1 and 12.4 yards per catch, respectively.

Smith-Schuster, who starred for three years at USC, went No. 62 overall as Pittsburgh's second draft pick in 2017. He recorded 70 receptions for 914 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, leading the Trojans in all three categories. He was previously named an All-Pac-12 first-team selection in 2015.

Measured at 6'1" and 215 pounds, Schuster ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash at the combine and wasn't among the top athletic performers at any drill in Indianapolis. His 13.1 yards per reception last season and questions about his separation don't exactly speak to being a downfield threat, either.

In reality, Bryant's probably wrong. Smith-Schuster is much more likely a replacement for Rogers over the long term than himself or Coates.


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