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Markus Wheaton on track to start for Steelers

Wheaton Getty Images

In recent years, the Steelers have found a couple of talented receivers via round three of the draft.  They now need another one to step up.

With 2009 third-rounder Mike Wallace and 2010 third-rounder Emmanuel Sanders now gone via free agency, 2013 third-rounder Markus Wheaton is in line to start, predicts Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Appearing in 12 games with one start as a rookie, Wheaton caught only six passes for 64 yards on the season.  The competition includes veteran free-agents Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey.  Rookie fourth-rounder Martavis Bryant and second-year sixth-rounder Justin Brown also are on the depth chart.

Speaking of sixth-round picks, veteran Antonio Brown — team MVP in 2011 and 2013 — returns as the top option in the passing game.  With plenty of attention devoted to Brown, Wheaton has a chance to make an impact.

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39 Responses to “Markus Wheaton on track to start for Steelers”
  1. clashpoint says: May 25, 2014 5:33 PM

    He’s got all the needed tools and a great work ethic; last year before he got hurt, his teammates raved about how hard he was working. He would have gotten more work after he was healthy but the Steelers didn’t often use four wr sets. He’s also turned into a good gunner on special teams, although as a starter and hopefully with improved personnel on special teams, he won’t have to do that duty this year. I’m looking forward to seeing how much he’s improved from last year. Go Steelers!

  2. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: May 25, 2014 5:40 PM

    Wheaties will make an impact. He is the real deal. Not everyone has heard of him. Barring injury, the football world will know about him by or before Halloween.

    No trick. Just treat.

  3. raiderapologist says: May 25, 2014 5:56 PM

    If Wheaton can actually catch the ball, Heyward-Bey won’t be much competition.

  4. jaypell says: May 25, 2014 6:00 PM

    And then the Steelers went on to win their 7th Lombardi trophy. ….YESSSSS….

  5. crownofthehelmet says: May 25, 2014 6:10 PM

    Steelers are stacked at wideout. A Brown, me, and 3 of my idiot friends would be a stacked group. Brown is that good.

  6. blackngold4life says: May 25, 2014 6:11 PM

    Health is key

  7. htown995 says: May 25, 2014 6:15 PM

    The steelers are in sad shape at wide receiver theres only one guy on this list that could even start for a playoff team steelers want be going to playoffs this year

  8. jtbsteeler says: May 25, 2014 6:45 PM

    A few more months until get back to punishing the Bungles

  9. tombstoned says: May 25, 2014 6:47 PM

    8-8 sounds about right.

  10. jtbsteeler says: May 25, 2014 6:47 PM

    Big Ben will get you paid. Flacco will put WR’s in the poor house.

  11. scoobies05 says: May 25, 2014 7:16 PM

    big Ben helped Antonio Brown lead the league and receptions…and an 8 and 8 record. brown is very good. Ben, eh

  12. blackngold4life says: May 25, 2014 7:42 PM

    Lol yall cant ever stay on track with the topic..aint about Ben or Flappo

  13. Nofoolnodrool says: May 25, 2014 8:07 PM

    big Ben helped Antonio Brown lead the league and receptions…and an 8 and 8 record. brown is very good. Ben, eh

    8and 8 drove Otis Elavator Rice to drop his fiancé ….your point was?

  14. abanig says: May 25, 2014 8:14 PM

    I definitely think he’s going to turn some heads this year. I predict 50 recs, 750 YDs, 4 Tds

  15. dadamson1955 says: May 25, 2014 8:18 PM

    Otis Elevator Rice now that is a good one!!!!

  16. clashpoint says: May 25, 2014 8:23 PM

    I really like the team speed the Steelers have been accumulating at wr. Wheaton is a 4.4 forty guy, Brown is around that too, Bryant is around 4.4, and Archer and DHB are significantly faster. The offensive speed (and defensive speed too, for that matter) is much improved over last year, and should definitely help keep that 8th guy out of the box on defense.

    We keep hearing about how Ben has been working with his young receivers all off season, so I sure hope they’ve been working on their deep throws! These guys can also help open up holes under the secondary for the sure-handed guys like Miller, Moore and the backs. Go Steelers!

  17. hernleyt says: May 25, 2014 8:30 PM

    I think he can be an excellent compliment to AB. If he’s as hard a worker as they say, he won’t have any problems. He’s already a better route runner than Wallace ever was. He’s also better than DHB who not only isn’t good at that, he’s got stone hands too. And Wheaton is plenty fast enough but also tough enough to go across the middle

  18. tushymcspankspank says: May 25, 2014 9:10 PM

    If you can resist a rape reference (I’m sure he really imposed his will on that unwilling woman), Big Ben has been woefully underrated in his career. If Brady had the o-line Ben had through the years, he’d have long whined his way out of Pitt.

  19. stew48 says: May 25, 2014 9:23 PM

    I just love the negative comments about Wallace. Yea, all he could really do is score on long passes or on run after catch. Really hard to imagine where all the so-called experts were when he was doing his all pro act for the Steelers.

  20. hernleyt says: May 25, 2014 9:42 PM

    Stew48 while Wallace was doing that we were all happy to have him. I know I was. But now he’s not here and showed both his attitude and how he can’t perform without a top-flight QB

  21. tedmurph says: May 25, 2014 11:03 PM

    One excellent receiver, who everyone will take away, and a bunch of street FAs and special teamers. Oh, and a 3rd rnd pk that caught 6 passes last yr. 4th rnd pk this yr. DCoordinaters must be trembling. Steelers are going back to being a run first team. We’ll find out if the OLine is up to it. Any team in that division could end up 1rst or 4th , including the Browns, IMO.

  22. crownofthehelmet says: May 25, 2014 11:52 PM

    Agreed, hern. Happy to have him. Even happier our FO was smart enough to make Brown our #1 and not Wallace.

  23. steelcurtainn says: May 26, 2014 12:33 AM

    Wheaton will make a difference…..The steelers are better off at the receiver position then they was last year which only means a more positive impact for the offense……Expect the steelers to put up points this year barring injury.

  24. bobzilla1001 says: May 26, 2014 1:02 AM

    According to ESPN.com, Roethlisberger ranks No. 16 among QBs. That’s hardly “top flight.” And if Brady had the O-line Roethlisberger has had through the years, he’d still get rid of ball in under 2 seconds.
    Last season, the Broncos went to the Super Bowl with the 22nd-ranked scoring defense and with the No. 1-ranked scoring offense. The Steelers, meanwhile, went 8-8 (against the weakest schedule in the league) with the 14th-ranked scoring defense and with the No. 16-ranked scoring offense. That’s probably the reason ESPN.com rates Roethlisberger No. 16. There’s nothing “woefully underrated” about him.

  25. dcapettini says: May 26, 2014 5:15 AM

    The Steelers are so used to having a HOF QB that they take it for granted. Hey! Ben is all you got! He goes down or starts playing his age and there is nothing else for this team. Signing Heyward-Bey is a sure sign. The guy can’t catch. Remember Yamon Figurs? He was the fastest man in the league for a while. He just couldn’t catch the ball.
    Live it up Pittsburgh. When Ben is gone and you have to find another franchise QB, 8-8 will start to look good.

  26. Matt dog from C-town says: May 26, 2014 6:23 AM

    What other choices do they have anyway

  27. tinytoolalldrool says: May 26, 2014 6:47 AM

    We need all the help we can get.

  28. eleventyeight says: May 26, 2014 7:31 AM

    And- Wallace was criticized for his poor route-running, unwillingness to go across the middle and inability to break tackles the whole time he was in Pittsburgh.

    The national media just didn’t pick up on it then…but the articles are there for the finding in local PIT papers archives.

  29. mitchitized says: May 26, 2014 8:40 AM

    We got a couple players returning from early exits due to injuries these past years – I’m looking forward to seeing what both Wheaton and Spence can bring with a full offseason program.

    Wasn’t that long ago folks wondered if Spence would ever play again, starting to think he could be pushing for a starting job this season. Would be an AWESOME story.

    Some say Wheaton has questionable hands, but I’m not sure he had enough opportunity on game days last season to know for sure. Strong offseason workouts, followed by a strong camp, strong preseason should set this guy up for some significant opportunity. Here’s to him taking full advantage, as I suspect he’s going to have tons of chances with this current offense.

  30. Nofoolnodrool says: May 26, 2014 9:00 AM

    The Steelers are so used to having a HOF QB that they take it for granted. Hey! Ben is all you got! He goes down or starts playing his age and there is nothing else for this team. Signing Heyward-Bey is a sure sign. The guy can’t catch. Remember Yamon Figurs? He was the fastest man in the league for a while. He just couldn’t catch the ball.
    Live it up Pittsburgh. When Ben is gone and you have to find another franchise QB, 8-8 will start to look good.

    That’s funny. We can still beat the a Ravens with a second or third string QB as we have done in the past. Please keep Jump Ball Joe and Otis Elevator Rice on the field and I know the Steelers will win at least two a year.

  31. troy43mvp says: May 26, 2014 10:30 AM

    A healthy Heath Miller and A. Brown will open Wheaton up for sure. Hard worker? I love to hear that.

  32. bengalguy says: May 26, 2014 10:36 AM

    Can he play QB?

  33. steelcurtainn says: May 26, 2014 10:49 AM

    Andy Chokton.

  34. handsofsteelhartofstone says: May 26, 2014 11:23 AM

    espn is wrong. they’e rankings are wrong. Ben is EASILY In the top 5 qbs In the nfl right now. hes just overlooked because people love to hate the #1 franchise in the game.

    modern era folks…6 lombardi trophies. argue all u want. cant deny statistics

  35. Nofoolnodrool says: May 26, 2014 11:44 AM

    Can he play QB?

    I know you Bungals are still looking for a QB that gets you your 1st playoff win in TWENTY something years, but you can’t have Ben.keep trying.

  36. raiderapologist says: May 26, 2014 12:04 PM

    handsofsteelhartofstone says: May 26, 2014 11:23 AM

    espn is wrong. they’e rankings are wrong. Ben is EASILY In the top 5 qbs In the nfl right now. hes just overlooked because people love to hate the #1 franchise in the game.
    ——————
    If it makes you feel any better, PFF had him ranked 11th last season. And they don’t use a jealousy index in their rankings.

  37. allkohn says: May 26, 2014 12:45 PM

    I am really excited about the entire offense! We are better at every position (except TE where we are the same). Munchak will make Todd Haley’s system work the way we’ve been expecting it to- and as mentioned before, our receiving core is much improved from last year.
    Gonna be a fun year to watch!

  38. Bull Rush says: May 27, 2014 8:50 PM

    Meanwhile, back on topic, a guy who posted 6 receptions for 64 yards ON THE YEAR, ranked 321 in receiving yards, which is slightly better than Patrick Peterson (6/54) who plays DEFENSE, is poised to be a starter

    …and you are excited about it?

  39. hernleyt says: May 27, 2014 11:39 PM

    Bull Rush yes it makes sense. He missed time last year which clearly didn’t help him. But he’s a hard worker, a good route runner, plenty fast and not afraid to go over the middle when necessary. I’d actually like to see him in the slot by the end of the year and have Bryant opposite AB. That would be a tough trio to cover. And then put Archer and his speed or Moore and his sure hands out there and it’s a tough group to defend

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