Steeler Nation, Grade Your Draft Picks: Rounds 1-3

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3rd Round, 79th Overall: Markus Wheaton

September 29, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA; Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Markus Wheaton (2) makes the catch in front of Arizona Wildcats cornerback Derrick Rainey (17) in the fourth quarter at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers seemed to finally heat things up a bit with their 3rd selection in the draft.  With Mike Wallace gone, the Steelers have been in need of a receiver who could stretch the field.  Not desperate need, but need.  The Steelers made a smart move by avoiding a project or potential by selecting Markus Wheaton.  He’s fast, has good hands, and should be inserted into the lineup immediately.  Of Wheaton, Dom had this to say:

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…. 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….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.

Wheaton should make an impact immediately in camp.  The question will be to what extent?  Will he boot Sanders from second on the depth chart and consistently run outside the numbers?  Or will he fit into 3rd on the chart, and leave Jerricho Cotchery and Plaxico Burress to be utility and ‘special down’ receivers?  Personally, I’m still looking for the next Hines Ward to be added to this roster, but Wheaton is a solid start to boosting an uneasy receiver core.

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