Pittsburgh Steelers: Wheaton, Shazier impressing early

With Antonio Brown being the only consistent receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s uncertainty about which other player will break out and become a suitable complement to him.

As training camp progresses, so does Markus Wheaton. An early favorite to claim the number two receiving spot, Wheaton has shown that he’s capable of fulfilling the role.

Last season, with only six catches for 64 yards, Wheaton was barely a commodity. This season he will need to take a huge step forward. Wheaton was minimized by a finger issue during last season, but even without the injury his role was limited as former receiver Emmanuel Sanders had the No. 2 spot locked up.

With Sanders gone and Jerricho Cotchery now in Carolina, the Steelers have a different looking receiving corps. Drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft, Wheaton was expected to be a “receiver in the waiting,” as the Steelers had a some of the best young receivers in the NFL at that time. That, however, has changed as they only have Brown left.

Embracing the role of second receiver is a must for Wheaton. He’s the best option, while others like Justin Brown and Derek Moye will be battling just to make the roster. Veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey is making a case to see time as his height and speed has been a real advantage in camp thus far. Lance Moore will be a “sure hands” kind of player, playing mostly in the slot, filling the shoes of the departed Cotchery.

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Wheaton has all the abilities to be a better number two guy than Sanders was. If he can continue to progress, he’ll be a reliable weapon for Ben Roethlisberger.

Linebacker Ryan Shazier comes as advertised. Pittsburgh Steelers

I’ll be the first to admit I was disappointed when the Steelers selected the former Ohio State linebacker, like most, I wanted them to address the secondary.

Shazier as a rookie is poised to start this season. It isn’t often a rookie linebacker is thrown into a starting role on the Steelers’ defense, but Shazier is a special player who is more than right for the role.

When drafted, he was described as “fast.” That holds true, but he’s also instinctive and very athletic. He’s a spark the defense could use to get back into the sack numbers they’ve been known for.

If Shazier proves to be a true first-round caliber player and last year’s first round pick, Jarvis Jones can perform on a high lever than last season then the Steelers will have a special, young tandem of linebackers on their hands.

He won’t be perfect, no rookie is but he’ll be stud on this defense in a short amount of time.

This team will need the likes of Wheaton and Shaizer to get back on track.

So far, so good.

  • gxickoys

    I think i just counted 5 grammatical errors subconsciously in this article

    • Joseph LaBarbera

      Don’t be mad this kid has a better gig than you, LUL!!