Markus Wheaton WR Oregon State #2
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Size/Athleticism: Slightly undersized but makes up for it with his elite speed and leaping ability. Impressive body control when working the sideline. Dangerous weapon in the open field. Has the speed to pick up chunks of yardage after the catch and also the agility to make guys miss in tight spaces. Impressive change-of-direction ability. Occasionally used on end-arounds and has no problem eluding slow-footed linebackers and linemen in tight spaces. Not strong enough to provide much help as a blocker, and doesn’t give much of an effort.
Separation Skills: Elite speed. Can stretch the field and few corners can match him step for step in man coverage. Has experience lining up wide and in the slot. Does a nice job adjusting his routes and finding the soft spot in zone coverage. Extremely quick feet. Explosive and sudden in his breaks. Can get knocked off his route by more physical corners, but has the speed to recover.
Ball Skills: Reliable hands. Occasionally gets sloppy and traps the ball in his chest, but in tight coverage he consistently attacks the ball with his hands. Does a great job tracking the ball over his shoulder on deep routes and making necessary adjustments to poorly thrown balls. Considering his size, his ability to go up and win jump balls is impressive. His athleticism really shows in this area as he does a nice job timing his jumps, and using his body to shield the defender to the best of his ability given the ball placement.
Intangibles: Coaches have praised him for his work ethic. Also active in community service projects away from the field. Went on a service trip to Guatemala in 2011.
Durability: Suffered a hip flexor injury in 2011 offseason. Knocked out of game vs Washington in 2012 after a big hit, but returned the following week.
Comments: Wheaton has the potential to be an elite weapon in the NFL. He isn’t a prototypical No. 1 due to his size, but he has the skills to play on the outside. His speed immediately stands out, but he is much more than just a pure deep threat. Wheaton’s ability to compete for balls in traffic is what sets him apart from other speed receivers. He’ll get pushed around at times by more physical defensive backs, but he doesn’t back down. And his elite athleticism allows him to put himself in position to battle bigger defensive backs for jump balls.