Terrance Wheatley Scouting Report
Measurables: 5'9", 185 lbs., 25 years old, in his third season from the University of Colorado
Statistics: 4 tackles, 2 passes defensed in his NFL career.
Scouting Report, furnished by Patriots Insider.com publisher, Jon Scott--
Wheatley has been an on and off contributor for the Patriots since being selected in the second round (62nd overall) out of Colorado. Once considered as a potential replacement for Asante Samuel, some believed Wheatley had better coverage skills than then current starter Ellis Hobbs. The Patriots added Wheatley, and fellow 2008 Draft class DB Jonathan Wilhite as part of their plans for life after Samuel and Hobbs.
New England quickly found out that both Wheatley and Wilhite failed to live up to their immediate expectations, relegating the duo to nickle or dime situations unless injuries forced them into the starting lineup. Wheatley only managed one start, and never gained traction after suffering a wrist injury as a rookie cutting his first season short after just six games. He didn't start again.
Wheatley has the ability to be a decent nickle corner, but that's not what New England was looking for from the former second-round pick. So the team went out and drafted a more athletic version of the 5-foot-9, 185-pound defender in 5-foot-11, 185-pound UCONN product Darius Butler. Wheatley had a chance to compete for a starter's role in 2009 with both Hobbs and Samuel gone, but both Butler and free agent acquisition Leigh Bodden and fellow free agent pickup Shawn Springs managed to beat him out in camp. Even Wilhite moved past him on the depth chart. Wheatley ended up playing in just five games that season, missing even the 59-0 blowout of the Titans.
Headed into 2010, the writing was on the wall for Wheatley. Perform or languish on the inactive list. Having played in just 11 games his first two seasons combined, Wheatley needed a fast start. The Patriots wanted better production from the position, so they selected DB Devin McCourty in the first round of the 2010 Draft. Kyle Arrington, a mid-season free agent pickup in 2009, even beat out Wheatley, primarily for his special teams contributions.
With Butler struggling opposite McCourty, Bodden on I/R and Springs no longer with the team, the Patriots desperately needed someone to step up this season. Butler was benched in favor of Arrington, with Wilhite as the next player in line. McCourty has done well, locking down the job that Samuel used to hold on the opposite side of the field. If Wheatley were ever to have a great chance to break into the lineup, this was it. But injuries kept him sidelined.
Wheatley, nursing a foot injury, never made an appearance on the active roster before the team gave up on him. He suffered the injury in camp, but never managed to get well enough to get off the injury list.
If Jacksonville, or any team, wants a player with potential, Wheatley has it. He's just not going to be a dominating shutdown corner. He can cover, and he's done some hitting, but he's not a big physical presence on defense. Perhaps his best role is playing zone in passing situations. Wheatley has decent speed, but his size, and lack of physical presence could be a concern in the ground game.
In two and a half seasons in New England, Wheatley managed just 4 tackles and 2 passes defended, most of which he recorded in the six games he played in as a rookie. He's been virtually invisible ever since.
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