When the Pittsburgh Steelers let WR Mike Wallace walk, they knew there was a void to fill in the offense.
Wallace stretched the field with his speed and made room for fellow receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders rook to work underneath.
Wallace is gone, but the philosophy stays the same and rookie Markus Wheaton is quickly showing he could be that guy for the team.
The team picked Wheaton in the 3rd round, with the 79th overall pick, of the 2013 NFL Draft and the Steelers are as good as any team in the NFL in identifying and drafting productive receivers into their system.
Wheaton may be a quick study, but he’s faster on the field sporting a 4.3 40 time. He missed the offseason training program due to NFL rules on graduation dates, thus putting him behind the eight ball, but he has caught on quick and is impressing the coaching staff.
“He's going to be in a group with the fastest (NFL receivers),” wide receivers coach Richard Mann said, via Alan Robinson of Tribelive.com.
“I don't know if he's going to be the fastest, but he'll be there. And what I like is he's got that quick twitch.”
“This kid is a smart guy who has made up a lot of the gap,’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley said.
“At the time, I felt he was way behind. Now that he's here, I think he's done a great job with Coach Mann of getting up to speed so he can compete.”
“I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like I'm settled in,” Wheaton said. “When you get here, there are guys who have done it for a long time, and their technique is much better, and I have to catch up in that area.”
“But I have to get used to the speed of the game; I have to get used to how quick the ball's on me out here,” Wheaton said.