Round 2, Pick 62: Terrence Wheatley
When the Patriots selected Terrence Wheatley, the first thing I thought was, “not another tiny corner.” With receivers getting so much bigger, I thought it was necessary to get a larger, physical corner, someone more like a player selected one spot later in Terrell Thomas. However, despite his lack of ideal height at 5-10, Colorado cornerback Terrence Wheatley could be the shutdown cornerback the Patriots have been looking for since Ty Law left after the 2004 season.
Terrence Wheatley is fast. But along with that, he has great acceleration and good fluidness. Stride to stride, he can stick with any receiver in the NFL, but he also redirect and recover exceptionally. Along with that, he is aggressive. He is fearless when he goes up for jump balls, and is solid in run support as well. He has good awareness, and really works hard to learn his assignments, as well as those as others (he will be a good field leader.) He also has soft hands and good timing, which has led to tremendous intereception production.
The big question surrounding Wheatley is health. His wrists seem to be as fragile as my great grandmother’s china. He missed the entire ’05 season with the wrist injuries, and it will be interesting to see if the injuries are really behind him, or if he just had one healthy season. Wheatley could also work to add some more bulk, which could allow him to make some of the more difficult tackles, which he has struggled to make in the past.
Overall, when I hear draft “experts” talking about Wheatley, I keep hearing the word “steal.” If Wheatley can get past his wrist injuries (and he looks like he is doing just that), Wheatley might just be the steal the experts think they’re talking about. Wheatley could go anywhere from being a starter to being the nickel, but I would definately expect him to find his way onto the field this season.