Expectations For Steelers WR Markus Wheaton In 2014

Due to a finger injury suffered last year, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton only registered six catches for 64 yards in the 12 games that he dressed for during his rookie season. With Wheaton now the odds on favorite to start this year as the No. 2 option opposite Antonio Brown, what kind of numbers should we expect him to have?

While some doubt that the Oregon State product will have a huge jump in production in his second season, there were several that thought the same thing about former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward way back in 1999, which was his second season in the league.

As a rookie, Ward only caught 15 passes in the 16 games that he played in 1998, but he followed up that season up by catching 61 passes the following year.

Just a few years ago, Brown made a huge jump during his second season in the league as well as he caught 69 passes in 2011 after only catching 16 during his rookie season. Brown also only started three games that season and played all of 625 snaps.

Brown’s 69 catches in 2011 is also the most by a Steelers second-year wide receiver in the history of the franchise.

Being as Brown will more than likely be the primary target for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in 2014, I still think that Wheaton should be able to average at least four catches a game this season and that would put him at right around 64, assuming he plays in all 16 games.

Last season, Emmanuel Sanders caught 67 passes, but was targeted a whopping 112 times. While Wheaton might not see the amount of targets that Sanders saw last season unless the team is trailing in the fourth quarter as much as they were last year, 100 targets is certainly achievable. On top of that, one would hope that Wheaton should easily be able to top Sanders’ 59.8% reception percentage from last season.

Yes, the Steelers did add veteran wide receiver Lance Moore during the offseason, but during his career, he’s mostly been used in three wide receiver sets and thus should see less snaps than Wheaton sees this season.

So how many receptions should we expect out of Wheaton in 2014? I am penciling him in for 60-69 catches. How many do you predict for him?

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Big White

    54 catches, 680 yards, 3 TD’s

  • JohnB

    I’d say that’s about right…maybe less depending on how Miller and Moore perform.

  • Anthony Tudi

    I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he catches 70-75 balls and has over 1,000 receiving yards, him and AB due to the much improved ground game and o-line. Plus there’s something about Markus as a person that just tells me he’s going to be a successful wideout

  • Milliken Steeler

    Ill go 55 to 65 catches and more importantly 8 TD’s.

  • AndyR34

    I’m guessing less catches…say 45 and about 550 yds.; merely because I think that the Steelers run game will be improved and they will not be behind in so many games this year. Ben throws fewer passes, therefore fewer catches for all receivers. Of course, I’m just hoping on the run game thing! LOL!

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think due to the overall depth improvement of the position, meaning we no longer only have just 3 WR options, I expect around 45 catches for him this coming year, basically replacing Cotchery’s number of catches. I expect about the same from Moore around 40 or so catches. Last year we got 8 receptions from our WR depth, if it wasn’t one of the top 3, it didn’t get caught or thrown to. (8 Receptions and 19 targets from Wheaton and Moye). Add in some catches for DHB, J. Brown, and Bryant and we should have no problems this year.

  • Ike Evans

    65 receptions 884 yards 5 TDs

  • ApexSteel

    There’s a lot of players who are going to get touches so I say 47 catches 620 yards and 4 TDs. I can’t see much more than that with AB still getting his along with Moore J Brown and Bryant getting some. Not to mention the running backs and tight ends.

  • steeltown

    A lot of different weapons this yr with a healthy Miller and Bell, Moore, Bryant and Archer in the mix.

    I think maybe 58rec. for 700yds

  • Chad H

    This one is tough to predict. I hope for 65/700/5. I see Heath getting more and depending on how much they involve Archer and Bryant.

  • walter mason

    You guys are really optimistic. Lets hope he doesnt pull a Sweed.

  • Bradys_Dad

    If you’re right, we’ll be a lot better off than 8-8 !

  • steeltown

    I think Defenses will gear (even more) towards AB this year, which could create a lot of opportunities for Wheaton, especially if the ground game gets going like we all hope.

  • Bradys_Dad

    LOL – mind if I use that one (pull a Sweed) in the future? Love that terminology.

  • afrazier9

    I think he will be the surprise player this year and maybe 80, and 740 9td

  • treeher

    Dave, get us a photo of his finger so we can see if it’s nasty like Ronnie Lott’s!

  • walter mason

    sure

  • James Kling

    That seems pretty close IMO.

  • James Kling

    I think Wheaton steps up in a big way this year, judging by how productive he was playing at Oregon St. 65/750/5 is around what I think is a reasonable expectation. I was originally happy when we drafted Sanders, but A. Brown has become the player I had envisioned Sanders to be. I think Wheaton complements Brown nicely, and has the mental part of the game down — not intimidated or dropping balls like Sweed, not as inconsistent as Sanders, a more complete player than Wallace. This is gonna be a nice tandem for a few years, if my surmise is right.

    I think Heath will be Heath and Moore will be fine in the Cotchery role. Not expecting a ton from Bryant, Archer (passing game), Brown, and/or DHB (I think Moye misses the cut), but whatever they add will be icing.

  • Steve

    Hopefully Wheaton can haul in 40-55 catches for over 500 yards and 5 TD’s. With the addition of Moore, Heath being back, and a good season out of AB this should be attainable by Wheaton.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/JohnnyLoose Johnny Loose

    55 Rec. 550 yards 6 TD. lol idk, I’m not worried about him being able to catch, as long as he can stay healthy and run block I think we’re good.

  • Michael Parker

    I’d say 50 rec 700 yds 6td. I see him making big plays down the field off play action.

  • whisn

    52, 650, 3 tds

  • Steelers@2010

    Kind of hard to predict how many catches, however, I’m going to say I think Wheaton will have close to 700 yards receiving. I don’t expect Brown to have as big of a season as he did last year either. I think the Steelers will use Blount more than what most people think. I think Mike Tomlin got an ear full from the Rooney’s last offseason; get a lead in the 4th, run the football, milk the clock. I do predict the Steelers corps of receivers will be better than what most think though.

  • RASTA

    Agreed…Go Steelers!

  • James Miles

    He will be lucky to have 30 catches and 2 TDs. He is unproven and from what I have seen thus far, he really doesn’t impress me. The Steelers should have kept Sanders and gotten rid of this no talent!

  • Steelers12328882

    Wow 60-69 catches? I just don’t think it’s going to happen. This is his rookie do-over year. I predict Lance Moore will have about 20 more receptions than Wheaton will have, so I’ll give Wheaton 40-45 catches.

  • Lil Smitty

    I think he will get 60 to 70. He may even get more depending on how effective he is at first. If I was a defensive coordinator, I would bracket AB let Wheaton beat me in one on one coverage, I would not stop that until Wheaton shows me he needs more than just single coverage.

  • Madi

    I’ll go conservative on this one with 49 rec, 564 yds, 11.5 avg, 5 TD.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I think he splits time with Moore early, and takes over full time in the back half of the year. Some big plays, but WR screens lower his average. Bigger numbers next year.

  • steeltown

    So you wanted to keep Sanders, give him a $5MIL per deal and get rid of a 2nd yr Wheaton who has yet to have full opportunity and who cost less than 1/5 the amount Sanders would. If he is unproven and we haven’t seen much thus far, how did you assess that he has “no talent”?

  • 412 Audio

    Dumb fans usually are impatient with rookies like they are veterans or something

  • ATL96STEELER

    I’m taking the wait and see mode here because none of us have enough to be impress or be discouraged…it would’ve been nice to have a more proven guy such as Sanders, but they know what ceiling is and apparently they thought Wheaton offered more upside…we shall see.

  • ATL96STEELER

    He can’t realistically assess Wheaton…none of us can…just blowing hot air imo.

  • Anthony Tudi

    Wheaton isn’t a rookie..

  • SteveM2

    From the Steelers’ website today:

    “There is no position that changes more once the pads go on than wide receiver, and players either rise to the occasion or shrink once the threat of violence is introduced. There will be that to sort out, because those who shrink will fall by the wayside, and then there will be the issue of who’s best in what role. Because the secondary also figures to be a highly competitive area this summer, the seven-on-seven sessions during this camp should prove to be very interesting.”

  • hanjonquin

    52 catches, 735 yds 6 Td’s 3 of which will be 50+ yarders.

  • rayster

    And what has been done to prevent the recurrent finger fractures and surgeries??

  • joed32

    What could be done? Nothing can prevent broken fingers.

  • stellarsfan

    65 rec 845 yards, 7TDs. mark it down. (AB gets 104 rec 1305 yards, 10TDs)

  • Jason

    I’ll be surprised if he only averages a little over 9 yds per catch.

  • afrazier9

    I just think the unknown about him will catch teams by surprise