Ed Thompson: What is that you do that makes you such a shutdown corner?
Wheatley: I think my intelligence. From a physical standpoint, everybody talks about the size issue, but there are so many guys in the draft and we're pretty much the same height. I'm over 5'9-5 and there are a few of us that are in between 5'9-5 and 5'10 and we're prototypical corners. From a physical standpoint, I think I'm just up there with everybody else, but from an intelligence standpoint — understanding concepts, breaking down film, and figuring people out — I think that's something I can do very well. Going into games I can figure out what guys like to do and what they're going to do against certain things. I take that into the game and I'm very calm and relaxed. And I just use my technique to the best of my ability. I have to get up in their face and that's just kind of the way I play.
Thompson: Did you have some visits or have any teams come and work you out?
Wheatley: I have worked out for the Patriots and I've worked out for Dallas. I also visited Cleveland, Baltimore, of course, Dallas and the Patriots. There's been a little bit of traveling, not a lot. I kind of got them all in together.
AP Photo/Joe Don Buckner
Thompson: Talk about Cleveland, what was it like to visit with them?
Wheatley: It was nice. I talked to all the coaches, they were all real friendly. They all expressed their interest in trying to get me. They definitely want to bring someone in who will be able to play right away, contribute right away, which is something I feel I can do, not only for them, but for any team. They want someone to come in for a starting job. That is definitely a big opportunity they have there. I got to sit down and talk to everybody and show them that from a football standpoint, I'm more than a football player. I have some intelligence and I'm able to figure things out, so I'll be able to grasp the playbook pretty quickly.
Thompson: It had to be exciting to go visit Baltimore with their tradition of great defenses.
Wheatley: That was a very exciting visit. Talking to the defensive coordinator and the head coach, that was actually my first visit. I loved talking to them, I love the way they play defense. They were showing us film of Ray Lewis just blasting people. I guess they were joking around because some people are saying he's past his prime. Personally, looking at that film I would say that's not the case [laughs]. There were a few times where he hit people and you were like "Man, those hits are violent." They have awesome facilities. I think they have one of the newer ones in the NFL, so it was nice to see that. It was just a good trip.
Thompson: Dallas has been called America's team. Was there a little bit of an aura there when you went to visit?
Wheatley: Definitely. You can kind of feel that when you first pull in. And then while you're working out you have Jerry Jones sitting there staring at you. What you see on TV is what you get, he's more of a hands-on kind of guy. That's something that, when you're a kid growing up in Dallas, you look forward to, and when you actually get it, you're like, "Man, I'm really working out in front of Jerry Jones right now."
Thompson: How about New England?
Wheatley: It was good. They have a very business-like approach. I talked to Mr. Bellichick, he's a good guy. Just like you see on TV, he's a real serious guy. But he has a reputation as this guy who doesn't have a personality, but that's not the case. He's a good guy, he jokes around, but when it's time to get to business he's about his business. I like that a lot because that's how I am. I'll joke around a lot, but when it's time to watch and break stuff down, all jokes aside, let's go ahead and watch it. They have good facilities, they have a great opportunity there for guys to come in and contribute right away. Who wouldn't want to play for the Patriots and a chance to compete for a Super Bowl every year?
Thompson: What are your plans for the weekend?
Wheatley: No party, I am not the partier. I'm going to
have me, my family, two of my best friends from high school, and that is it.
I'm not going to be doing anything special.
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com. You can contact him by email through this link.