Home » Blog » Markus Wheaton Accepts Slot Role With Steelers

Markus Wheaton Accepts Slot Role With Steelers


What was shaping up to be one of the more intriguing training camp battles of 2015 has apparently already been settled. Markus Wheaton, one of the younger members of Pittsburgh’s stellar wide receiver corps, has embraced a position in the slot as a key member of the Steelers’ vaunted 2015 offense.

About to enter his third season, Wheaton has been good but not great for the Steelers, amassing 59 receptions, 2 touchdowns and a little over 700 receiving yards. While his playing time in his rookie season was extremely limited – typically par for the course for Steelers rookies – he stepped up in 2014 following the loss of Emmanuel Sanders to Denver.

“I wouldn’t say that it is out of my comfort zone, but there are things I need to learn that are different from the outside,” Wheaton explained. “Being on the field last year, I learned a lot in terms of reading the defenses and seeing things. Moving me inside, I am still seeing a lot of the same things.”

Many expected Wheaton, the talented and extremely likeable 24-year-old out of Oregon State, to be challenged by sophomore sensation Martavis Bryant for the right to be the number two man behind unquestioned superstar Antonio Brown. As it turns out, the coaching staff has shown enough faith in the second-year wideout to place him on the opposite side of arguably the best receiver in the game.

Bryant burst onto the scene last season after starting the year on the bench due to injury and inconsistency. Of his 26 receptions in 2014, 8 resulted in touchdowns, including a scintillating 95-yard score to break Cincinnati’s back in the first of Pittsburgh’s two victories over its divisional neighbour.

Concerns over Bryant being a one-trick pony were put to rest as he began using his incredible speed to create separation from defenders and snap into routes with veteran precision.

Despite respectable numbers, Wheaton has yet to develop the kind of fluidity and rapport with his quarterback that is so crucial in a starting wide receiver. The slot role is reserved for hardworking, reliable targets capable of exposing mismatches in coverage.

With his 4.4 40 speed, Wheaton has that last criteria more than covered, and has shown a tendency to make plays on third down, but must continue to develop his skill set if he is to help catapult Pittsburgh’s offense to new heights this season.

  • 100%