Steelers rookie minicamp: Markus Wheaton adds a different dimension to Steelers passing attack
By Neal Coolong on May 3 2013
Wheaton, the Steelers' third round pick, is a player to watch this weekend. The speed in which he can grasp this offense will determine how much he could play this season.
Steelers third round pick Markus Wheaton will no doubt draw comparisons to former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace due to his outstanding long speed.
We've mentioned how he's more than that, though. Imagine that, a receiver who's more than just deep speed.
Wallace can't be replaced, but the dynamic of the Steelers offense can be changed for the better. As the Steelers rookie camp is underway in Pittsburgh, Wheaton could be the rookie who receives the most playing time this season, largely due to his skill and precision on slant and dig routes.
Unfortunately, he's also the rookie who will miss the Steelers' full team minicamps scheduled May 21-23, May 28-30 and June 3-6 due to the dreaded rule that doesn't allow rookies to work with their teams until their college has graduated. He will participate in this weekend's minicamp, though.
Working within the structure of Todd Haley's offense, Wheaton's physicality will be just as much an asset as his speed will be. He can get inside defensive backs, who are forced to respect his speed to the outside. He does a great job of keeping himself between the defender and the ball, and gives the quarterback a target to hit while still allowing himself the leverage of the angle to turn up field and make plays.
The Steelers will see exactly what they have with Wheaton in minicamp, and how they use his versatility and underrated skills as a pass catcher. When paired with Antonio Brown, the Steelers will have two receivers who are adept at running underneath routes while still having the ability to stretch the seam.
Markus Wheaton: Not Just Mike Wallace’s Replacement
May 14th, 2013 by Nick Kelly
During the summer of 2012, Mike Wallace was absent for most of the offseason. The Steelers and Wallace’s camp were not able to come to an agreement on a long-term deal, so Wallace decided to play on his $2.7 million first round tender. Right after Mike Wallace supposedly turned down a big deal from the Steelers, they decided to sign Antonio Brown to a 5 year, $42 million deal.
After Brown’s deal, the writing on the wall was quite clear on both fronts, concerning Mike Wallace. To no surprise, Mike Wallace left the Steelers this offseason to sign a huge deal with the Miami Dolphins, making him one of the highest paid receivers in the NFL. I can’t say I can blame Wallace for taking that big deal. What I will say though is that I am glad it wasn’t the Steelers paying him that kind of money.
I was at the point where I was ready to say goodbye to Mike Wallace because quite frankly, he needed to go. Not only was I sick of his ‘me first’ mentality, I was also sick of what he did on the field, or should I say lack of what he did on the field. When Coach Tomlin coined the phrase “one-trick pony” for Wallace, many thought that he was just joking or trying to motivate him. Mike Wallace was a total one trick pony that was a track star in a football uniform. Yes, he took the top off the defense, but exactly what else did he do to help the Steelers win last year?
If you can’t tell already, I am not as big of fan of Mike Wallace as others. The production he had while in the black-and-gold is great, but he would always disappear in the playoffs. One of the few plays he made came in an end around against Denver, which wasn’t even a passing play. You can’t tell me you pay a guy $60 million to disappear from the playoffs. In 2012, when Ben would try to pass to Wallace, it was a safer bet that he would drop it instead of catching the ball. Steelers fans, including myself, became sick and tired of the way Wallace played in 2012.
After Wallace left, the Steelers had even more depth issues at wide receiver. The Steelers feel they partially filled that hole by drafting Markus Wheaton out of Oregon State. I have seen dozens upon dozens of articles saying “Can Markus Wheaton fill Mike Wallace’s shoes?” Or “Is Markus Wheaton the second coming of Mike Wallace?”
I hope not. I think the funniest thing is, other than the fact that both men are fast, and they have the same initials, the two receivers don’t have all that much in common at all. Mike Wallace is faster than Wheaton, but honestly, that’s the only edge I see Wallace having. Wheaton has WAY better hands, he’s a better route runner, he is not afraid to go over the middle, and he is willing to jump up to get the ball. How many times did you see Wallace put his body out there to make a play? You would have to look pretty hard to even find one time.
Another area where Wallace struggled and Wheaton excelled in, is run blocking. Wallace does something called “look back blocking” where he is constantly just looking back at the runner, trying to avoid the confrontation of blocking the defender. Markus Wheaton on the other hand is not afraid at all to get in there and get his nose dirty.
Even though Mike Wallace might be a one trick pony, he does that one trick well. I believe he does it about 40 million well, not 60 million. Can Markus Wheaton match the production Wallace has had? I firmly believe that he can and will. Not only will he match what Wallace has done, I truly believe he has what it takes to end up being twice the receiver Wallace was and will be become. Is Markus Wheaton Mike Wallace’s replacement? Not only will Wheaton be his replacement, Wheaton will be seen as an upgrade a season or two from now.
Pretty well states exactly what I would have written. I'm happy we got Wheaton and happy Wallace is someone elses bad $60M investment.
Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel
Wallace had great individual production during the regular season...if football were not a team sport, I would be sad that he is gone...
Wheaton could produce less statistically, but still help the team more...this is what I think we all hope for...
Don't sleep on Brown. Just cause he's slower and drafted later doesn't mean he can't be a better WR. He's a big target that Haley could get the ball to quickly who can run in the open field to make some plays. The only reason people weren't interested in him is they questioned his speed.
I don't see Brown making the Final 53 unless he just blows up camp and the preseason. He looks like PS material to me.
Originally Posted by flippy
Yeah, we are probably keeping only 5 WR's on the 53-man roster, and I don't see him leapfrogging Brown, Sanders, Wheaton, Cotchery, or Burress.
Originally Posted by Oviedo
The Rams' offense featuring weapons such as Marshall Faulk, Torrey Holt, and Isaac Bruce were known as "The Greatest Show on Turf"
The Steelers' offense featuring weapons such as Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant should be known as "The Greatest Show on Grass"
This has nothing at all to do with respective playing surfaces at the Edward Jones Dome vs. Heinz Field.
2015 MNF Executive Champion!
and that one trick that he does very well was usless the minute they hired Todd Haley. At that point, Wallace wasn't even worth the $40 million they offered, and that's a shame.
Originally Posted by Neal Coolong
Not that Wallace isn't a punk... But, I have a bigger problem with any coordinator who isn't wise enough to say, "i have the fastest guy on the field - how can i exploit that?" For that matter, he could be the tallest, or strongest or whatever the attribute is. I have a system and "square peg, you're going in THERE, dammit!!"
lack of imagination is cause for concern, IMO.... guys like Lawrence Taylor (or Troy Polamalu) never happen if their coordinator didn't realize what a freak of nature they have and exploit it...
I undervalued Arians... until Haley was hired.
Hall of Famer
I suspect you aren't the only one...
Originally Posted by SteelerOfDeVille
When did this become a thread about LeBeau and his defense?????
Originally Posted by SteelerOfDeVille