Oregon St. Beaver’s widereceiver Markus Wheaton was steady riser throughout college, and finally broke out in his senior year. However, he ended up with 91 receptions, 1,244 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in his last year as a Beaver receiver. The buzz on Wheaton grew as the season went on, and he proves why he was worthy in the Senior Bowl practices. Below I will describe what I have observed on this senior Beaver receiver.
5”11, 189 lbs.
Markus Wheaton shows off his quickness in every game he plays in. He consistently separates from defenders with his speed and subtle movements. Wheaton has enough speed to run away from defensive backs regardless if they play man coverage or play 10-yards away from him. Defenses have come to learn to respect Wheaton’s speed by rolling double coverage or risk a pass-interference because he has blazed passed by them.
Wheaton shows off his multidimensionality as a receiver. He can play wide out on the right or left, or play slot and also take a hand-off by the quarterback. Furthermore, he shows knowledge of a variety of route running, being able to run short, intermediate and deep routes. Wheaton can turn a short catch into a big gain with his elusiveness in the open field.
Lastly, one of the most important ability of a – is to catch the ball. Wheaton shows off great toughness in his catches. He catches the ball away from his body, and knows how to catch the ball at its optimal point of descent. His ability to set himself up to have an advantage of catching the ball first in a situation when defenses are also jumping for the ball.
One visible criticism of Markus Wheaton is his laziness as a blocker. He often let defenders push him aside or move past him with ease. Wheaton doesn’t possess a large frame and his weight appears a bit undersized, therefore he is easily overpowered by his opponents. His route running is also not as sharp as it can be. Additionally, Wheaton should try to control his feet better on catches that are close to the sideline.
Markus Wheaton has been compared by some to Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace. He will serve well early on as a complimentary wide-receiver with upside to become a dynamic starter. His best fit will be in a verticle offense, with a quarterback with a strong arm who can throw deep. Teams that fit such discriptions are Lions, Cardinals, Colts, Steelers, etc. Wheaton solidified his draft stock with a strong Combine performance. He will be a favorite to be tiered with the top wide receivers and probably be taken in the second round.