Steelers offensive coordinator happy Markus Wheaton felt bad

Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

Maybe Steelers third round pick Markus Wheaton felt badly about running "only" a 4.45 40-yard dash. Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley didn't care; he was happy he did.

Picking in the dead middle of the draft, it can be argued a team will pick up a player either on the rise or on the decline.

It may have helped the Steelers that Jarvis Jones ran a 4.9 40 at his Pro Day earlier this spring. Had he run in the 4.6 range, a team was far more likely to have scooped him up before the Steelers were on the clock.

They were famously happy he ran so slowly.

According to Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, they can say the same thing about third round pick, wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

Wheaton committed the atrocity of running only a 4.45 - something, according to Post Gazette reporter Ed Bouchette, relieved Haley, to the point of dismissing Wheaton's feelings.

"When you have guys that you like, you aren't rooting for them to run fast and get a lot of attention," Haley told Bouchette. "I know it probably hurt his feelings and made him feel bad, but we were happy because when you put on the tape, he plays fast. He's a fast player and quick. He will be an exciting guy to have around."

No one's happier that players run slow 40s than the Steelers.

Wheaton allegedly said he's run in the 4.3 range before, and it wouldn't be surprising, having watched him play. He looks as fast as a receiver can be, but more than anything, it's not his (or Jones', for that matter) straight line speed that's impressive, it's his quickness, and his acceleration in and out of his breaks.

Not only that, but teams could look at the 10.58 he ran last year in the 100-meter dash at the Oregon Twilight. That equates to....a fast 40 time. Just sayin'.

There are all kinds of fancy tests that can determine that level of speed. The biggest one, though, is the ever-elaborate "watching him play the game." Clearly, he's fast. He plays the game fast as well.


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