Mike Tomlin Says Markus Wheaton Is Route Savvy And Not Making Many Mental Mistakes

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.

  • BurgherinMD

    Good good. I think he, Brown and Sanders are going to give DBs fits this year. I really hope he pans out so they do not have to take a receiver in the first rd. next year if Sanders leaves.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It sounds like the Steelers may have hit on 4 picks with one still progressing. I have heard good things from J. Jones, Bell, Wheaton and J. Brown with Thomas growing in his position.

  • dgh57

    I said back during the OTAs not to worry about Wheaton that he was a smart kid and that he still had TC to get things worked out and so far I’m right! Next up laying it all out on the playing field of which I have full confidence in him doing considering he had 91 catches for 1244 yards and 11TDs last year!

  • Matt Searls

    Wow that’s impressive considering Tomlin usually says things like “he has represented himself well but it’s early” or “it’s appropriate because that’s what we expect” so this is awesome!

  • Gautama Om

    They will still p/u a WR in the draft next year if Sanders leaves.

  • BurgherinMD

    true, but not if Wheaton proves to be a stud they will not have the urgency to do it in the first rd. Thinking maybe TE or CB.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    The 2014 draft projects to be a bit weak for the TE position in the 1st round. That’s one of the reasons we should’ve gone with Eifert this year IMO. But there are a number of bigger WR that could project in the mid to late 1st round. A lot will depend on Sanders (as you pointed out). But also a lot depends on how Haley would use a bigger WR in our offense. To me, Brown, Sanders, Wheaton, are all the same type of receiver. A bigger WR might take the place of what a TE might do in some of our sets.

    If the Steelers pattern holds true, they will go offense in round 1. But the one position I believe they might consider (if they went defense instead) is CB. Especially a bigger CB who could flex to a CB/FS hybrid in LeBeau’s special packages.

    My way too early 2014 mock right now has the Steelers going:

    1) WR
    2) CB/FS
    3) TE

  • Regis J Reynolds

    Conspicuous by its absence is what Tomlin thinks of Wheaton’s progress below the neck.

  • walter mason

    Yes at this point in time, it would appear to be the draft of the decade!
    Ah… didnt we say that last year?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    LMAO…sorry…I do get a lil excited and yes I do say it every year but this year seem special outside of Landry Jones.

  • Reddeer

    Besides his 100 catches and multiple TD’s last year Wheaton was a track man. You will be pleasantly surprised with the below the neck part. Riley runs pure Pro set offense so all Oregon State kids come in to training camp with a bit of a head start with regards to NFL playbook.

  • Regis J Reynolds

    And they have had one of the best coaches in college football, Mike Riley. The coach that I would send my kids to play for regardless of where I lived.