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Markus Wheaton on 2015 struggles: A 'chemistry thing'

One of the NFL's biggest ongoing mysteries is why talented Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton doesn't make more plays.

A third-round draft pick in 2013, Wheaton made Around The NFL's "Making the Leap" list in the summer of 2014. Although Martavis Bryant bypassed Wheaton last season, Ben Roethlisberger predicted in August that the former Oregon State star would finally break out in 2015.

Instead, Wheaton has failed to adjust to the slot, catching just 14 passes -- three fewer than journeyman No. 4 receiver Darrius Hewyard-Bey.

"The middle of the field is a chemistry thing," Wheaton explained this week, via "When Ben came back, he and Heath [Miller] had been doing it for years so their chemistry hadn't gone anywhere. It's just about building it back ... I was getting three, four, five catches a game [last year] and the chemistry was there. It's easier when Ben's there all 16 games and I'm there all 16 games."

The Steelers have been celebrated for developing other mid-to-late round wideouts such as Bryant, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, but Wheaton has fallen through the cracks.

Between Roethlisberger's injuries and an offense loaded with passing-game weapons, it's no surprise that Wheaton's opportunities have decreased. The head-scratcher is that he simply hasn't made plays when the quarterbacks do call his number.

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