I included Markus Wheaton at #33 on the updated top 50 watch list yesterday, a sign of how keen I am to see him in Oregon State’s final couple of games. He’s not the biggest receiver at 6-1 and around 185lbs, but he’s up there with DeAndre Hopkins as one of the more under rated receivers eligible for the 2013 draft.
For the season he has 68 catches for 977 yards, including ten touchdowns. Wheaton’s a senior and put up similar numbers last year (73 catches, 986 yards) but he’s become a much greater scoring threat, having only made one touchdown in 2011.
He’s a consistent option who might not make too many big, explosive plays – but he has got the deep speed and he’s a consistent hands catcher. I’ve watched Wheaton a few times now and there are a few things that keep cropping up. Firstly, he’s a very willing blocker in the second level. He anticipates the running back finding the hole and will look to make blocks downfield to enhance a gain. Secondly, he does a fine job creating separation. Time and time again he’ll create space with a crisp route or a double move. He’s one of the smoothest route runners you’ll see in college, no doubt down to the fact he’s a senior and has had the time to work on his game.
He could end up being a surprise late first rounder like A.J. Jenkins and anyone who drafts him in round two is getting a bargain. I’m not sure what the Seahawks are looking for if they want to add another receiver, and it may be that they want that big bodied target who can be physical while still getting downfield. I’m getting to the point where I’d consider Wheaton in round one even if he doesn’t have elite size. You know what you’ll get with this guy. He might never be Calvin Johnson, but who is?
I’ve included tape of his performance against UCLA above, courtesy of JMPasq.