NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Markus Wheaton, WR Oregon State

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Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton
Oregon State WR Markus Wheaton

Green Bay Packers NFL Draft prospect profile: WR Markus Wheaton

Player Information:

Markus Wheaton, WR Oregon State
5-11, 189 pounds
Hometown: Chandler, AZ

STATS

NFL Combine:

40 time: 4.45
Vertical: 37″
225-pound bench: 20 reps
20-yard shuttle: 4.02
60-yard shuttle: 11.16

News and Notes:

Three-year starter … Holds the Oregon State school record for career receptions … During his four-year career, Wheaton caught 227 passes for 2,994 yards and 16 touchdowns … Also in the running game on jet sweeps and end arounds … Was a first-team All-Pac 12 selection as a senior in 2012 … Caught 91 passes for 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior … Carried the ball 83 times during his college career … Sprinter on the track team … Beat Oregon speedster De’Anthony Thomas in the 100m dash in May 2012 with a time of 10.58

 What they’re saying about him: 

  • NFL.com: “His quickness is blatant and dangerous. Whether taking off from the slot or outside, his feet are literally a step ahead of his defender on everything from speed outs, crossers, to jerk routes. Displays the flexibility to grab throws behind him or over his shoulder when running deep. He’ll also extend away from his body to bring in high or wide throws, and will stutter on the sideline to ensure he makes the catch in-bounds. Possesses some thickness to his frame, and is willing to lower his shoulder to get the extra yard – often diving under defenders to get as many as possible. Wheaton also dabbled in track while at OSU, reminding scouts of his elite speed.”
  • eDraft.com: “Wheaton’s biggest asset is definitely his speed. Though he only ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the combine, he has elite football speed. He was often used on jet sweeps and bubble screens where the Beavers just gave him the ball and let him do the rest. He can eat up cushion off the line in a heartbeat, and he can pull away from defensive backs in the open field. Often players with Wheaton’s speed are just track stars who get lost on the gridiron … He has smart and quick in his route running, showing an understanding of most of the routes on the route tree. He sets defensive backs up with head fakes and route angles, and sinks his hips well, exploding out of his breaks … In the games I viewed, he faced press a few times and showed great quickness and technical ability to overcome it.”

 

Video:

 

Video Analysis:

  • Speed kills. Wheaton was simply the fastest player on the field against UCLA.
  • Runs smooth, crisp routes and always seems to be open.
  • Does a nice job getting off press coverage at the line of scrimmage.
  • He’s only 5’11” but has fairly long arms and a 37″ vertical, which allows him to play bigger than his height.
  • Gets up field quickly with the ball in his hands. He’s shifty but is quick to move north-south rather than east-west.
  • Again, the guy is fast. Really fast.
  • Wheaton has drawn comparisons to Mike Wallace because of his elite speed, but I think he has a chance to develop into an even more complete receiver than Wallace. I think if you combine Wallace’s football speed with teammate Antonio Brown’s ability to create yards after the catch, that’s what Wheaton is. He’s an mid-2nd round on my board.

If drafted by the Packers:

Barring an injury to one of the team’s top three receivers, Wheaton probably wouldn’t play a prominent role as a rookie. But with the uncertainty surrounding Jones’ future beyond this season, Wheaton could be groomed into a future starting role.

Wheaton wasn’t much the Beavers’ primary return man in college, but he has the skill set to handle some punt return duties in the NFL, in my opinion. And if Randall Cobb is taken off special teams as Coach McCarthy has suggested, there will be a void for a punt returner next season. Tyler Dunne, of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, wrote a piece about Wheaton fitting in with the Packers’ offense.

This draft is loaded with wide receivers, but two stand out to me more than the others as far as being a fit with the Packers–Wheaton and Quinton Patton. I would guess both players will come off the board somewhere between the Packers’ first pick at No. 26 and their second pick at No. 55.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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  • Lars1

    If this guy was ten pounds heavier he’d be Greg Jennings. Very dynamic player, who should be there at the bottom of R2.

    • Marques Eversoll

      Agreed, he has some Jennings in him.

  • Dobber

    Just plain faster than Jennings, though maybe not if he were plus 10 pounds

  • Stroh

    He’s another Randall Cobb. Not at all what the Packers need, IF they need a WR at all. I’m happy going into the season as is at WR. If a guy is available in any round that is easily the best player, draft him for sure, but I don’t see WR as a position the Packers need to address this year.

    • Dobber

      Drafting a WR for the upcoming season will rarely net significant returns due to growing pains. (Not if…) but when TT takes a WR and/or TE on days one–>two of the draft it’s because he’s looking to maintain weapons for one of the best QBs in the league in 2014 and beyond while the window is still most open for him.

      • Stroh

        Thank you… But I’m well aware that Thompson is making sure Rodgers has weapons. He learned well from Wolfs mistakes and regret in not giving Favre better weapons. I just think they have pressing issues at a few other positions that need to be addressed. I’m not against drafting WR if its easily the BPA, but otherwise other positions take precident right now IMO.

    • Marques Eversoll

      I don’t see Randall Cobb as a comparison for Wheaton. If there’s a Cobb-type player in this year’s draft, it’s Tavon Austin.

      Wheaton reminds me of either Mike Wallace or Antonio Brown, somewhere between those two. He’s a legit perimeter receiver who is also capable of lining up in the slot.

      I just can’t see Wheaton being used like Cobb at the pro level.

      • Stroh

        I disagree… I see a slot WR, not much else. Some teams use smaller WR like Wallace and maybe they want Wheaton, the Packers are not one of them IMO. Even Jennings had 10 or 15 lbs on him. Let one of those other teams overdraft him or try to turn him into legit perimeter reciever.

  • zac5

    As Stroh has mentioned this guy is another Randall Cobb, and the Packers are fine at the WR position (especially slot) in 2013. Beyond 2013 is totally different matter altogether as James Jones becomes a free agent and may command a decent salary increase, hence a WR becomes a distinct possibility in the early rounds of the draft this year as his replacement. I would love to see TT pull the trigger on Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins as a replacement for Jones (similar skill set with more upside).

    • Marques Eversoll

      Again, I don’t see the Cobb comparison for Wheaton. They’re both smaller, fast receivers, but they have completely different skill sets.

      • zac5

        I’ll concede that Wheaton would able to play deep a little more than Cobb does, but I’ll rather TT take a larger possession type receiver like Hopkins or even Keenan Allen if he falls in the draft.