After Pittsburgh’s brass whiffed on their 2nd Round pick, they definitely made up for it with their selection of wide receiver Markus Wheaton.
With Mike Wallace now in South Beach, the Steelers definitely needed to add an element of speed of their passing-game. Thus, I am downright happy that they were able to acquire the former Oregon State Beaver in the 3rd Round.
A former track-athlete during his college days, Markus emerged as the program’s most productive wide receiver over the last couple of seasons. After he put up a combined 138 catches for 1,661 yards and 5 touchdowns during his sophomore and junior campaigns, Markus put himself in the same conversation as Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, and Keenan Allen as one of the Pac-12’s best receivers last year. Overall, Wheaton was named 1st team All-Pac 12 after he hauled in 91 balls for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall.
Although Wheaton does not possess an overly large frame (5’11” 189 lbs.), he has a good deal of speed and quickness to stretch opposing defenses both vertically and horizontally. Armed with consistent hands, Wheaton is also a proficient route-runner who definitely has the ability to be an effective weapon in the short, intermediate, and deep areas of the field. I should also add that Wheaton has the ability to not only contribute in the passing-game outside the numbers, but also in the slot position as well.
A multi-purpose weapon to boot, Markus rushed for 631 yards and 5 touchdowns during his collegiate career in Corvallis. So if offensive coordinator Todd Haley is feeling up to it, Wheaton could definitely help on some end-arounds or designed runs also.
As I stated before, the Steelers need help at the wide receiver position. Antonio Brown is the only wide receiver who is signed through the 2013 season, so it was a wise choice for them to hedge their bets with Wheaton. Markus’ ability to be a dangerous player in the short and intermediate areas reminds me of Emmanuel Sanders, and his ability to be a deep-threat definitely reminds me of the departed Wallace.
So tip of the cap, Colbert & Co.! I believe that you guys made a wise choice.
Final Grade: A-
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