The Pittsburgh Steelers offense was as good as it has ever been during the 2014 season and looking at the potential weapons on paper, it could be even better this season.
That especially rings true if wide receiver Markus Wheaton has a breakout season, which is something that many are predicting from the third-year pro.
Wheaton, a 2013 third-round pick out of Oregon State, caught 53 passes for 644 yards and two touchdowns last season. What makes that impressive is that even though it was his second season in the league, last year pretty much served as his rookie season as Wheaton missed a lot of the 2013 campaign with an injury and never really made an impact.
Can he improve on those numbers in 2015?
It’s quite possible.
Coming into camp, it looks as if Wheaton is a lock to begin the season as the Steelers slot receiver.
While he was passed on the depth chart by second-year pro Martavis Bryant, Wheaton is still poised to have a big season.
Bryant has looked outstanding so far throughout OTA’s, but so has Wheaton.
Wheaton can play both inside and outside and I would expect Todd Haley to take advantage of his versatility. The Steelers like to use a lot of short passes to set up the deep ball and I would look for Wheaton to play a huge role in that. Not only can Wheaton do some damage in the short passing game, but he is also a big threat after the catch.
Ben Roethlisberger likes to spread the football around and he has shown in the past that he trusts Wheaton in any situation.
That can only be a positive sign for Wheaton as he looks to take a giant step forward in his third season in the league.
While there will be plenty of footballs headed in the direction of Antonio Brown and Bryant and while the likes of Le’Veon Bell, Heath Miller and rookie Sammie Coates will also play a big role in the Steelers passing game, it is Wheaton who has the chance to make a big difference if he continues to progress.
If you are looking for an X-Factor of the Steelers offense heading into the season, look no further than Wheaton.
With all the weapons on paper, if he continues to improve, Wheaton has the ability to help turn this Steelers offense from a great one to an elite one.
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