Humble Steelers Rookie WR Markus Wheaton Knows He Has A Lot To Fix

Like many of you, I too believe that rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton has the potential to develop into a great receiving threat for the Pittsburgh Steelers, as his college tape alone indicated that long before he was selected in the third-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. With that being said, Wheaton\’s first preseason game Saturday night against the New York Giants was far from perfect and he openly admitted that Monday to the media.

“A lot to work on, a lot to improve, a lot to fix,” said the humble Wheaton, who caught one pass for eight yards and rushed once for another ten yards against the Giants.

During the first 1:45 of clock time in the second quarter, Wheaton let his excitement of playing in his first professional game get the best of him. It started with him failing to maintain control of a pass on the right sideline from quarterback Bruce Gradkowski as the play was challenged by the Giants and rightly overturned. On the punt that would follow a few plays later, Wheaton, who was lined up outside as a gunner, accidentally took out the legs from underneath linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, who had just made a great tackle while covering a punt. Sylvester injured his ankle during the mishap and was out for the rest of the night as a result.

If that wasn\’t enough, Wheaton was flagged for a false start on the third play of the Steelers next offensive possession. Following the penalty being assessed, Wheaton lined up incorrectly on the left side of the formation after the offense broke the huddle which forced Gradkowski to have to unnecessarily burn a timeout.

When you throw in a few failed blocking attempts on top of those miscues, you can see why I put Wheaton on my losers list following the game. It doesn\’t mean that he is a loser, just that his play in the game, mostly the mental aspect of it, was well beneath the line.

“I was just excited to be out that,” said Wheaton. “Too excited. My wheels were spinning.”

Wheaton will have better games and I fully expect we will see that next Monday against the Washington Redskins in the second preseason game. It isn\’t surprising that his excitement got the best of him and manifested itself in the form of mental errors as several young players go through that. He will put that game behind him quickly and start exciting us all now that he has his first game behind him. He will be spinning those wheels in the opponents secondary a lot during the remainder of the preseason.

  • paltel

    I would not put him on the losers list. He did nothing that would cost him his place on the 53 man roster by virtue of his being picked in the third round. I see the losers as being the UDFAs and late round draft picks that perform below line, though suppose if Wheaton fails to win the number 3 receiving spot that it would be a loss.

  • cencalsteeler

    I think we have a potential future star here in Wheaton.

  • SteelersDepot

    Nobody is saying he isn’t going to make the roster and that he is forever a loser. Relax and take a xanax.

  • sgtrobo

    that first down catch across the middle when he knew he was going to get slammed by a LB was all it took for me to really root for the kid.

  • steeltown


  • Jason White

    Wasn’t a perfect debut but I was pleased with what I saw. Last year no wide receiver on the roster stood out enough to earn the 5th WR spot which was ultimately filled by Chris Rainey but this year we are deep with young WRs that are making quite the impression. The remaining preseason games should be entertaining.

  • Luke Shabro

    The kid has a great attitude also, like pretty much every kid from our 13 draft class. I don’t know much about Nick Williams and Terry Hawthorne but I couldn’t be more excited for JJ, Bell, Wheaton, Landry, Shamarko, Vince Williams and Justin Brown. Not saying this is a class of stars because it’s waaaayyy too early to tell but I do think we ended up getting a class of contributors. I wasn’t stoked on the JJ pick at first but I’m pretty happy overall now. Great job by Colbert

  • Luke Shabro

    I don’t care that people said he should’ve held onto the ball on that sideline catch. He had the awareness to drag both toes and make a great catch (with his hands). He almost had it and wit his landing it didn’t look easy to hold onto. The kid is awesome

  • Shannon Stephenson

    1st we have to remember he is behind because of the schools graduation policy.
    2nd he is a young kid who had excitement for playing. Both will work themselves out before preseason is over IMO.

  • Milliken Steeler

    The UFDA’s an late rounders are losers? What am I missing here.

    Justin Smith is going to make this roster. He has great hands, runs good routes, has the size the offense needs and likes to go across the miiddle of the field. He can also return punts. I think Gilreath just showed we have an issue there and although we haven’t tried him out there yet, Justin returned punts in college with pretty good success,

    Vince Williams is coming on strong and showing not only can he hit and play the Mike position, when he drops into coverage, he isnt doing to bad despite the lack of experience.

    Nick Williams despite getting hurt is getting a lot of looks from the coaching staff as a long term project on the D line. He is back in now and is by no means disappointing anyone so far.

    Alan Baxter is showing consistent ability to get pressure at the OLB position. He has a shot at a roster spot pending the rest of the pre season but he will be at the minimum a PS lock.

    Nick Ebernate was looking good and by all accounts was probably going to make the roster as an O lineman. Injury does not make this a bad pick up.

    Golic Jr looks like he is going to make the practice squad as UDFA and if he gains NFL type strength in the off season, should be a threat to make the 53 man roster next year.

    While he is getting less buzz than others, Mr Arnfeldt is looking good as a D -line prospect. He was among the quickest and strongest at the combine at his position and is showing that so far in camp. If it wasnt for the improvement of Woods and Taamu, I think Arnfeldt might have snuck onto this roster. He will at least be a PS lock by the end of the pre season.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I will not put him in the star category quite yet although there is potential.

  • Luke Shabro

    I was nervous when we let Wallace walk but it feels like this kid is going to be very good. Not a body catcher like Mike Wallace. Crazy tough going across the middle for a guy his size

  • Luke Shabro

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that thought Arnfeldt looked good. May have been against the 2’s and 3’s but it looked like he was throwing people around

  • Douglas Andrews

    Yeah i like the fact that he plays fast and quick. He may not have the Wallace 40 time but he sure seems alot more polished with his routes and his footwork. He made some mistakes and he needs to learn how to play ST’s but overall I liked what i saw. He’s might not put up M Wallace’s rookie numbers but he sure looks like he can make some plays for us as a good #3 WR.

  • Steve

    Wheaton is a breath of fresh air compared to Wallaces bad attitude. Numerous Steelers have referred this years locker room to the old Steelers way.

  • cencalsteeler

    I mentioned this during the offseason. The Steelers draft class of 2013 were predominantly captains of their college teams. I think Colbert saw the “cancer crew” didn’t have the right mind set, and chose to go in a new direction. Great move by Colbert and a welcomed breath of fresh air!!

  • cencalsteeler

    Mike Wallace? Who is he?

  • paltel

    Imho you read more into my post than I actually typed..

    I’ll pass on the Xanax. I don’t wanna be the first fan suspended by the NFL for posting while intoxicated.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think you misunderstood the winners and losers thing. The “winners” are just the players who did well for themselves and the “losers” are the ones who performed poorly/made costly errors. Doesn’t necessarily mean the winners “win” the roster spots and the losers work at McDonalds.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m working on an article about Arnfelt as we speak.

  • Luke Shabro

    I’ve loved your articles so far. Keep up the great work!

  • Eddy

    Agreed, I can deal with a few mental error in his first preseason game.

    I think he just needs to calm down and let the excitement and speed of the game subside.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Yeah that was one of my biggest concerns last year with the way Wallace chose to handle his contract situation. I’m sure the players got tired of answering the MW questions at some point during the OTA’s and TC. While i never agreed with the way Mike chose to do his business, he could have at least came in with a much better attitude. It was a big distraction all year. What I like about all the guys we drafted is what they all have to say. They sound like natural born Steelers players. Hopefully with the new players the locker room can get back to the Old locker room as you said.

  • Douglas Andrews

    He’s the guy wearing #17 with good hands and even better footwork…oh wait that’s JD Woods lol

  • Douglas Andrews

    Agreed and with his hard working humble attitude no doubt in mind he learns from whatever mistakes he makes and becomes better.

  • Mark Davis

    STEELERS found their diamond in the rough with Wheaton this kid is gonna make everyone forget about Wallace and Plax I guarantee it!!!!!

  • Luke Shabro

    I agree. I never fault a guy for going after money. I won’t be surprised at all when Manny Sanders goes wherever the money is. I don’t even get mad when guys don’t give the hometown discount. Not everybody is Hines Ward. What bothers me is when you treat the last year of your contract as a lame duck year and you can tell a guy’s heart isn’t in it at all. That’s exactly what Wallace did. Have fun down in Miami with all your cash and no wins

  • Luke Shabro

    H’es on 60 Minutes right?

  • Milliken Steeler

    I agree Cencal and you know what they say about Cancer……it always spreads. I like the direction our team is going in now.