Wheaton was a small-ish receiver that was dangerous in space, and was used a number of ways at Oregon State. He had a quick first step, which allowed him to get a lot of work on bubble screens, as well as track speed to get deep.
To me, he looked like a combination of Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown honestly. I pegged him as a second rounder. You can imagine my excitement when the Steelers stole him in the third round.
If you search the scouting reports, the words “game breaker” show up a lot.
Then during the 2014 season, Wheaton just never really emerged. He didn’t disappoint, but he just never got on the field. I think it’s reasonable to assume that means he didn’t look ready in practice.
Houston radio host, and son of former Steelers Asst. OL coach Larry Zierlein, Lance Zierlein stated on twitter that he thought when the Steelers drafted Wheaton, that he could be the best receiver on the team by the end of 2014, saying they would “love his speed, competitiveness & willingness to block.”
I asked Lance recently if he still thought that, given the breakout season by Antonio Brown, and he wasn’t backing down in his praise of the young receiver… and I agree with him.
ESPN reported a couple of weeks ago that with Emmanuel Sanders almost guaranteed to sign elsewhere, Wheaton’s snap count could triple in 2014, if he earns it.
Well, Wheaton has already started working towards earning his playing time.
Some photos popped up on twitter this week of Ben Roethlisberger working out with Markus Wheaton and Derek Moye at Velocity Sports Performance in California.
Wheaton getting on the same page with Ben will be crucial to his development in the offense, as well as earning trust from his Quarterback in big moments.
We already knew that Markus had all the physical tools to be a star in the NFL, in his second season he’s going to have every opportunity to earn the #2 receiver spot, and it appears that he’s putting in the work to make it happen.