The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t been a power rushing team in quite some time, and there’s a bigger emphasis than before on wide receiver quality and depth. From that depth, Markus Wheaton is signaled out to step up this season.
It’ll be the third season for the 2013 third round pick out of Oregon State. Wheaton didn’t do much his rookie season, but caught 53 passes for 644 yards in 16 games last season, the third most used receiver on the team behind Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell. However, when it came to red zone activity, Ben Roethlisberger preferred getting the ball to Martavis Bryant, who caught 8 touchdowns out of 26 receptions.
Bryant has an elbow injury after surgery to remove infection. He’s going to miss the upcoming hall of fame game against the Minnesota Vikings and although he’s not going to be out for long, it might just enough time for Wheaton to jump past Bryant on the depth chart heading into the preseason games.
Appearing on Sirius XM NFL Radio, Ben Roethlisberger stated that he thinks Wheaton will be the team’s breakout player this season. Lofty expectations from a player who is developing nicely but hasn’t exactly exploded during his time with the team. With more passes going his way, we might see what Roethlisberger is talking about.