A speedy big play threat the Broncos are looking for.
The Denver Broncos interviewed potential draft picks during Senior Bowl week. One of those prospects was Markus Wheaton, a 5’11", 183 lb. Wide Receiver out of Oregon State University. Wheaton is ranked #8 out of 399 Wide Receivers across the nation and 54th overall for the 2013 NFL Draft. He is projected to be taken in the 2nd round. Wheaton’s pre-Combine 40 Time is listed as 4.44 seconds.
#2 Markus Wheaton
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 182
Birthdate: 02/07/1991 (22)
Major: Public Health
Arm Length-32 1/4"
Hand Length-8 1/2"
Wheaton left Corvallis as the career record holder for receptions, tied for first for single season receptions with James Rodgers (91), second for single season receiving touchdowns with 11 in 2012 and third for career receiving yards. Markus is one of the best overall athletes in the Pac-12 Conference and probably the best playmaker on the Beavers' Offense. He is also a sprinter in track, with a 100 meter time of 10.75 set in May of 2012. Wheaton leaves OSU having played 49 games, with 227 catches for 2,994 yards, a 13.2 average and 16 Touchdowns. He also ran with the ball 83 times for 631 yards, a 7.6 average and 5 Touchdowns. Markus also had 149 return yards.
In 2012, he had 91 receptions for 1,244 yards and 11 Touchdowns, setting team records. Chosen as one of four team captains for the 2012 season. Markus is a multi-purpose player, used in OSU's rushing scheme on fly sweeps and end-arounds.
He started all 12 games in 2011, leading the team with 73 receptions and 986 yards. Wheaton had four 100+ yard games and earned Pac-12 Conference Honorable Mention.
As a sophomore in 2010, he ranked 3rd on the team for all-purpose yards with 1,028. Markus led the team in receptions with 54 and yards with 660. He also participated in track and posted a 22.36 in the 200 meters at the Pac-10 Championships with minimal training.
During his freshman year (2009), Markus played in 12 games, finishing the season with eight receptions and 11 rushes. The majority of those rushes came on the fly sweep or catching passes behind the line of scrimmage. He scored one touchdown, a 10-yard rush against Washington State.
NFL.COM Draft Grade-81.8
STRENGTHS: Wheaton is a flat out speedy receiver. He can work out of the slot or on the outside and blow away the defender. His body control is amazing, whether grabbing a throw behind him or going up to snatch passes out of the air. His straight line speed and burst at the snap chew up the cushion and he uses a good swim move to elude pressing Cornerbacks. He has a lot of experience against the press because Oregon State uses this technique with their Corners.
Markus is an excellent route runner and recognizes holes in zone coverage. He will sitdown in the open area to aid his Quarterback. Wheaton has good lateral agility to elude defenders, but mostly just blows right past them. He will employ an effective stiff-arm to gain yards after the catch. He’s a willing participant over the middle and will make the catches in traffic. Has a head on him to pursue the run block.
WEAKNESSES: He’s not a big receiver, but one could argue that Mike Wallace and Torrey Smith aren’t either, standing at just 6’0″ themselves. However, he’s only 183 lbs and can get pushed around by larger defenders when blocking. He’s an average blocker, even though he shows a willingness to engage. He’ll never be a physical receiver, but the screen game and the short-quick passing attack that the Beavers use, favors his abilities. Markus can elude receivers in the open field because of his speed, but he won't juke a guy out of his cleats. Because of his stature, he can get overpowered by more physical Cornerbacks.
NFL COMPARISON: Antonio Brown (Steelers), Bernard Berrian (Bears/Vikings)
- Is used on reverses, screens and sweeps at least twice a game, fast enough to outrun the angle on reverses
- Big weapon on bubble screens and quick passes, can create yards after the catch
Markus Wheaton vs Arizona State 2012
Markus Wheaton vs BYU 2012
Markus wheaton Oregon State 2012
Markus Wheaton vs Cal 2012
Oregon State's Markus Wheaton fights off the defender to make the great TD catch
Wheaton might not be biggest receiver or the biggest name in the 2013 draft class, he is one of the biggest playmakers. He has outstanding speed and uses it to stretch the field vertically. He is a big-play threat whenever the ball is in his hands, but his lanky frame could keep him from maximizing his potential. Markus will need to get stronger and clean up his route running, especially at the top of his routes, but he will give the team that selects him a vertical threat with reliable hands at the next level. I’m sure the Bronco evaluation team believes Wheaton could be the big play threat they value to put them over the top.
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