The New York Giants' strength on their roster is arguably wide receiver. The Giants have a Pro-bowl player in Victor Cruz and a Pro-Bowl worthy player in Hakeem Nicks. They have the young and talented Rueben Randle, and Jerel Jernigan offers intrigue. Despite all of that, there are questions about the position with the biggest one being can they keep both Randle and Nicks long term?
The Giants don't seem likely to consider wide receiver in the first round, but it's possible a player could offer enough upside and entice the Giants to select him in the second or third round. Today I want to use our 2013 NFL Draft prospect profile to highlight Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton, a player who could bring a dynamic to the Giants that they are currently lacking.
[Complete SB Nation Draft Coverage]
Speed. Speed. Speed!! Wheaton offers solid height, he's listed at 6-feet tall, and has good quickness. Wheaton isn't an extremely fine-tuned route runner, but he has improved in that area and he possesses the type of unique lateral athleticism that could make him an extremely difficult guy to cover in the NFL. Wheaton does a good job of tracking and catching the football over his shoulder, which is a good trait to have because it's likely he'll have a few plays in his near future when he blows the top off the coverage. Could be a guy who does a great job of running reverses, etc. Even though he is slender (about 180 pounds), he does not shy away from contact.
[Big Blue View 2013 NFL Draft Big Board]
He can get jammed up by press coverage because he has difficulty fighting off the line. He also doesn't always catch the football with his hands on intermediate route patters. Wheaton is not a great blocker -- he's a willing blocker, but not a great one.
Player comparison: Antonio Brown (NFL.com), Mike Wallace (seahawksdraftblog.com? (can't remember for sure)
DeSean Jackson -- Me (without the attitude)
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Does He Fit With The Giants?
The Giants have one receiver who plays much bigger than his size and has a great all-around game in Hakeem Nicks, and another guy who relies on his quickness in Victor Cruz. Both players run like running backs after the catch and create yardage that way. Wheaton offers a different dynamic because he can get down the field in a hurry and is a threat to blow the top off the coverage every time he steps on the field. I personally salivate a bit thinking about the dynamic Wheaton could add to the offense.
This video is by user xuseac84 on youtube
Big Board Rankings
Wheaton is the type of player who is labeled a "combine riser," but that's by people who aren't paying attention (I'm looking at you, National Football Post). By the time the draft comes around he could have some first-round buzz.
National Football Post-190th
Mocking the Draft-87th
Sports Illustrated-outside the top 40
Big Blue View Board-38th
Well, apparently this is a player who I'm much higher on than everyone else, but I think they are behind the curve a bit. In the modern NFL guys who weigh 180 pounds aren't as much of a liability as they once were. Guys like Wheaton, Jackson, Antonio Brown are smaller guys that are not any more injury-prone than any other player because they can't be pressed after five yards, teams don't expect them to be great blockers, and once they do catch the ball they just outrun everybody, anyway, so they don't get hit that much. It's not like they are taking a beating. It's actually the guys like Nicks, Dez Bryant, Anquan Boldin, Miles Austin -- the big guys who play physical who always seem to be missing games with nagging injuries as much if not more than the "undersized" guys.
I have very few concerns with Wheaton at the next level. He needs to fine-tune his route running but he's already pretty good with the way he sets up routes, he just rounds them off some and hasn't been a guy who runs every type of route consistently, but his speed and agility can't be coached. He'll get better and could end up being a steal for some team, much like Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown were for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009.
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