Due to Oregon State being on the quarter system, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton was forced to miss all of the offseason practices following the rookie camp that took place right after the 2013 NFL Draft. In missing all those practices, Wheaton had a lot of catching up to do when he arrived to Latrobe for training camp.
Thanks to some long distance tutoring by new wide receivers coach Richard Mann, Wheaton was able to stay on top of the play book and was able to hit the ground ruinning in camp as a result. On Friday, head coach Mike Tomlin was a guest on Movin\' The Chains and was asked to comment on the Steelers third-round draft pick.
"Markus Wheaton, he\'s got very good route savvy," started Tomlin. "Talk about a guy who has caught over 100 balls last year, worked in the slot, worked outside. He\'s showing good route maturity for a young guy. He knows how to create space at break points and work himself open.
"He\'s a competitor, he\'s really been impressive, but probably the most impressive thing about him is that he hasn\'t made a bunch of mental mistakes for a guy that went to a quarter school, that missed the spring ball. He\'s a guy that\'s come in here and caught up and caught up rather quickly and is not making the mistakes above the neck that usually dog most young guys."
When you hear Wheaton talk, you can tell he is very smart kid with a strong intellect and Tomlin was asked to talk about those characteristics he possesses.
"We came with the mentality that we were going to force-feed him until it was too much and to our surprise, he\'s taking what we\'re throwing at him," he said. "So it\'s been a very pleasant surprise from the above the neck standpoint."
Really, you couldn\'t ask for a better progress report than that from Tomlin as it appears Wheaton is conquering the learning curve very quickly. The sooner he can play without thinking, the sooner he will be in the lineup as the third wide receiver. While that might not happen by the season opener, it will happen sooner rather than later.