What Should We Expect From Markus Wheaton in 2014?

WheatonI liked the pick of Markus Wheaton in the third round of last year’s NFL Draft. I would have loved Keenan Allen in the second but Le’Veon Bell has proven himself more than worthy of his second round selection.

At the time, Wheaton was one of the better receivers on the board and seemed to fit the Todd Haley-type offense the Pittsburgh Steelers are now running.

With Emmanuel Sanders all but gone from the Steelers, we all are asking what can we expect from Markus Wheaton in 2014.

Before we anoint him the next Lynn Swann let’s remember he caught six balls last year. Six. Did you catch that? He caught¬†six¬†balls last year.

There is no way in my opinion that we can make any fact-filled assertions about what lay ahead for Wheaton in the upcoming season. There just isn’t enough to build off of or is there?

Maybe and maybe not….

I selected four Steelers’ receivers to compare Wheaton to in terms of rookie season production to second year production. I’ve done this to just give you an idea of what expectations might be fair for the former Oregon State Beaver.

Hines Ward – Rookie season: 16 games played, 15 receptions, 0 touchdowns

Hines Ward – 2nd season: 16 games played, 61 receptions, 7 touchdowns

Santonio Holmes – Rookie season: 16 games played, 49 receptions, 2 touchdowns

Santonio Holmes – 2nd season: 13 games played, 52 receptions, 8 touchdowns

Antonio Brown – Rookie season: 9 games played, 16 receptions, 0 touchdowns

Antonio Brown – 2nd season: 16 games played, 69 receptions, 2 touchdowns

Mike Wallace – Rookie season: 16 games played, 39 receptions, 6 touchdowns

Mike Wallace – 2nd season: 16 games played, 60 receptions, 10 touchdowns

Markus Wheaton – Rookie season: 12 games played, 6 receptions, 0 touchdowns

If we average the second seasons of the four receivers I’ve selected, then we can expect Markus Wheaton to play in 15 games, have 60 receptions and score six touchdowns.

Obviously there are numerous factors that can’t be ignored in this comparison such as teammates, coaches, levels of competition and so on but this could give us a very crude estimate of what we can expect from Wheaton.

One of the excuses given for his slow development last year was because his school term went so long. Because of that, he missed nearly everything in terms of OTA’s and that’s a big part of where a new player learns the offense.

That said, other players were in similar situations and still had good seasons so it’s clearly a case-by-case basis.

Wheaton will be given every opportunity to earn the number two spot. I also expect the Steelers to re-sign Jerricho Cotchery as well who will probably be better in the slot but time will tell.

Ultimately, Wheaton’s rookie season gave us very little to go on for 2014 but hopefully past receivers’ numbers can shed some light.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 730pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.

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9 comments on “What Should We Expect From Markus Wheaton in 2014?

  1. Santonio’s probably a bad comparison give his draft position compared to Wheaton.

    I kept wanting to see Wheaton out there over Sanders, but that was mostly because I thought the season was over, not because I thought Wheaton would outplay him. It’s not hard to see why he wouldn’t see the field when the team is pretty deep with Brown, Sanders, and Cotch (who all stayed relatively healthy).

    Keep in mind he also had finger issues throughout the season, and I believe just recently had surgery on it again; so that could’ve been bothering him throughout the year.

    Like you said there’s not much to go on rather than a hunch, but as your numbers show there’s no reason to be down on Wheaton based on his quiet rookie season. I think 60 catches and 5-6 touchdowns is not out of the question at all.

    • I forgot about how serious his finger injury was. Lots of guys can play through broken digits but my understanding was that he had a very severe series of breaks. He will need to contribute in 2014 there’s no doubt. His ability to stretch the field a bit will open up things for Miller, Cotchery etc.

  2. You all seem to have this 100% no doubt thinking that Wheaton will succeed, but let me ask you this: what happens if he does not produce in his 2nd year? You can’t just dismiss my question that would be hypocritical of you. You all want to look at Wheaton as if you were looking a 1 side of a coin and nothing else but remember there is another side to that coin. If Wheaton shows up and plays well I’ll come back and admit I was wrong no questions asked. But if he doesn’t step up this year I don’t want to hear anybody run there mouth saying what a bad pick it was cause I will counter with this “you all said just have faith in Wheaton, give him this 2nd year to show something and you won’t be disappointed” well if he does fail and disappoint then what happens? Think about this the whole year while you watch Wheaton play this season.

  3. Well to me I just issuing a warning to Steeler fans who automatically think Wheaton will step up. Be mindful throughout the season when it comes to Marcus. If he fails this season then I don’t want to hear fans who supported him all of a sudden turn there back on him and boo him and trash him. I know you the fans want him to succeed but what if it doesn’t happens? What happens if he fails after his 2nd year?

  4. I asked a simple question about Wheaton and people like Carl jump down my throat because they don’t like when I talk bad about Wheaton, well I have a solution to solve everybody’s problem: I’ll back of Wheaton for the 2014 Season if you people will back off Jarvis Jones as well. How does that sound to you all?

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