Steelers take Oregon State receiver Wheaton hoping he can replace Wallace
The Steelers drafted a speedy and relatively unknown receiver in the third round four years ago who turned out pretty well.
They're trying again this year.
The Steelers finished the second day of the NFL Draft Friday by picking Oregon State's Markus Wheaton with their third-round selection (79th overall) with the intention of him filling the hole left by the departure of Mike Wallace via free agency.
“He is a fast guy, make no mistake about it,” Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said. “He can stretch the field.”
Wheaton ran a disappointing 4.45 40-yard dash at the Combine in February but said he can, and has, run a 4.3 before. Wheaton (5-11, 182) did not run at Oregon State's Pro Day in March.
“It is hard for anybody to run faster than Mike, but this guy does run fast,” Haley said. “When you have guys that you like, you aren't rooting for them to run fast and get a lot of attention (at the Combine). It probably hurt his feelings and made him feel bad, but we were happy because when you put on the tape he plays fast.”
Wheaton continued to get better over his four years at Oregon State, culminating with a first-team All-Pac 10 senior season in which he caught 91 passes for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“I am ready to play football,” Wheaton said. “I am glad that I came off the board and I know where I am going to play.”
Although Wheaton played the majority of his collegiate career as an outside receiver, he is also capable of playing in the slot.
“I envision myself anywhere,” Wheaton said. “If I am needed to play inside, I feel that I can do both.”
Wheaton had 164 catches over his final two seasons at Oregon State while also showing the ability to run the ball. He carried the ball at least 20 times in each of his last three seasons.
“The numbers aren't huge from a yard-per-catch standpoint, but he is one of the guys that we thought with the ball in his hands he gets even more exciting,” Haley said. “That leaves the door open for us to do a lot of things with this guy that fits in with (Antonio Brown) and Emmanuel (Sanders).
“We like the guys we have here but to get another young guy in here to compete and push the young guys is always a good thing.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- RB Williams believes he’s making seamless transition to Steelers
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin mum on Bryant suspension
- Big plays cost Steelers defense in preseason loss at Bills
- Rossi: Beleaguered Steelers need MVP from Big Ben
- Healthy, confident Steelers LB Shazier ready for full speed ahead
- QB Vick hits ground running in debut
- Steelers rookie receiver Coates learning on the fly
- Steelers won’t change scheme after Pouncey injury
- Crowd sparse to protest Vick at Steelers’ facility
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin leaving `light on’ for injured players
- Starkey: Steelers stopping themselves with suspensions