Markus Wheaton Scouting Report

Markus Wheaton 2013 NFL Draft

QB / RB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF

Prospect: Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 182
Grade: 6.8  (Grading Scale)

Scouting Report:

+ Outstanding straight line and vertical speed, one of the fastest WR in the Pac-12
+ Ran a 10.75 100m for the Beavers track team, translates his track speed to football speed
+ Good burst off the snap, eats up cushion and gets onto the DB quickly
+ Is used on reverses, screens and sweeps at least twice a game, fast enough to outrun the angle on reverses
+ A playmaker with the ball in his hands, consistently makes the big play
+ Has a second gear to separate while ball is in the air
+ Good height and length for a receiver
+ Displays good agility when running route and making catch in coverage
+ Runs hard and decisively with the ball in his hands, can make a move without losing momentum
– Lacks strength, could manage to add 5-10 pounds to better deal with press/physical CB
– Frame isn’t built to take contact well
– Doesn’t appear to be a great leaper

+ Tracks the ball really well in the air, locates and can make the over the shoulder catch
+ Reliable hands, appears to be a natural catcher who doesn’t fit the ball in
+ Does a good job of catching the ball while falling away from the defender
+ Runs through the ball, uses his hands to snatch the ball and get moving in one motion
+ Adjusts really well while the ball is in the air, very good awareness of position
+ Knows where he is on the field and gets his feet down in bounds while tracking the ball
– At times he waits for the ball to come to him instead of working back to it
– Will cradle the ball and let it get into his body, especially when open

Route Running
+ Runs outstanding deep routes, with the ability to separate in the final steps while ball is in the air
+ Creates separation in and out of his breaks, due to short area burst
+ Great burst after the initial catch can turn it back on and get to top speed quickly
+ Big weapon on bubble screens and quick passes, can create yards after the catch
+ Has the ability to be a threat at all levels of the passing game
+ Can out run man coverage on crossing routes
+ Recognizes zone coverage and will tempo his routes to find the soft spot
– Too much wasted movement at the top of his routes
– Routes lack precision as he relies mainly on his speed to get open at this level
– Will fade and round some of this routes, giving the DB position on him
– Can be taken out of his route by a stronger defender

+ Development is on the right track, got better and more polished each season and really broke out as Senior
+ Was able to maintain a high level of production, while the Beavers changed QB throughout the year
+ Doesn’t give up on plays, will try to get out in front of ball carrier and block
+ Voted as a team captain, by all accounts one of the hardest workers on the team

+ Extremely willing to blocker, looks for a defender and will give good effort to hold his block
+ Will get out in front of teammate and try to block in open field
+ Not afraid to engage bigger defender and will throw his body around
– Really poor blocking technique, fails to sustain his blocks and can be overpowered
– Blocks with his hands to much, tries to dance with the defender

While Wheaton isn’t one of the big name WR in the 2013 NFL Draft, he is one of the biggest play-makers. He has outstanding speed and uses it to stretch the field vertically. He has shown a very good ability to track the ball and make adjustments while it’s in the air. The Beavers tried to get the ball into Wheaton’s hands as much as possible, using him on sweeps, reverses and screens. I see a similar type usage in the NFL.

Wheaton does need to get stronger and clean up his route running, especially at the top of his routes. He has natural speed that is tough to find and the ability to separate from the defender. In terms of draft stock I think it’s likely that Wheaton is a day two pick based on his speed and predictability. He has developed nicely while at Oregon State, exhibiting improvement each year, at the very least he will provide a team with a vertical threat with reliable hands at the next level.

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