With Minnesota Vikings first round pick Laquon Treadwell barely seeing the field, most fans are wondering what is going on with him. The transition to the NFL is more than most know.
When Laquon Treadwell was drafted in last year’s first round, the Minnesota Vikings fanbase expected him to come in and contribute immediately. That has not been the case so far in the young receiver’s career.
There are multiple factors to the Vikings taking a slower, relaxed approach with Treadwell. The depth the team has at wide receiver, and forgotten players such as Cordarrelle Patterson and Adam Thielen stepping up big have played a part in this.
Reading a recent Bleacher Report piece on Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates showed me certain similarities to Treadwell and his path to NFL stardom.
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Here is an exert from the piece.
"Sammie Coates was going to be an instant star. At least, that was how it seemed back in the autumn of 2015.The NFL had different plans.The plays moved fast. Real fast. Defensive players were cunning, and his routes were sloppy. Balls bounced off his hands. He was huffing and puffing all the time.As it turned out, fans weren’t wearing his jersey at games, and neither was he. His coaches decided he would wear street clothes for eight regular-season games and another postseason game. He didn’t get off the bench in two other regular-season games. All regular season long, he caught one lousy pass.All of it was a bit of a shock for the former Mr. Big Man on Campus. At Auburn, he averaged 21.4 yards per catch. He once wrecked mighty Alabama with 206 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He was the leading receiver on a team that came within four points of winning a national championship. In high school, he was named MVP on a state championship team."
There are similarities all throughout Coates’ path.
Upon being drafted, Treadwell was thought to be an instant star. So far, Treadwell has been inactive for multiple games, and the games he has seen snaps in, were mostly blocking snaps.
He has yet to have a pass thrown his way.
Like Coates, this has been discouraging to Treadwell, the former Mr. Big Man on Campus. At Ole Miss, Treadwell averaged 14 yards per catch, and almost 90 yards and a touchdown per game last year. Treadwell also wrecked Alabama has had a good history against mighty Alabama.
Treadwell was the leading receiver on his Ole Miss team that won the Sugar Bowl, in a game in which he caught three touchdowns. In high school Treadwell, like Coates, was named the MVP on a state championship team.
When he was asked about not playing so far in his NFL career, he said it was “hard to watch and not be on the field.”
Steelers offensive Coordinator Todd Haley had this to say about Coates as a rookie.
"“It was clear he wasn’t ready to have an impact on us,” Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley says in retrospect. “The first part of the year was rough. He wasn’t near in the condition he needed to be in, and he probably thought he was in decent shape.”"
This is very similar to what Viking head coach Mike Zimmer said about Treadwell.
"“He has to continue to do better in practice,” Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said of the team’s 2016 first-round pick. “He’s working, just biding his time until he gets an opportunity like how (Stefon) Diggs was last year. I still think he’s thinking about the number of steps to take on each route and things like that, being at the right depth.”"
Treadwell’s whole life he has been able to just show up and he was already a step ahead of anyone on the field. Now stepping up to the next level, every guy is the best from their state, and the MVP of their high school, or stud on their college team.
This is where the hard work and the little things come into play.
As we have seen this year, Sammie Coates is off to a great start. He has become a great pair with Antonio Brown. He also grabbed his opportunity and ran with it. With the suspension of Martavius Bryant, there was an opportunity for Coates to step up.
Similar to Stefon Diggs last year. Diggs did not play until Vikings wide receiver Charles Johnson went down with injury. In that moment, Diggs to control of his opportunity.
It took Coates until about three quarters through his rookie season to really stand out. Then he was just waiting for his opportunity.
Treadwell is being patient waiting for his opportunity, and we as fans need to be patient before we label him before we even see him on the field. He has all the intangibles, and in due time they will be on full display.