The cornerback Wheatley started 28 games in four seasons at Colorado and had 14 interceptions, two for touchdowns. He is in a large group of players with a chance to replace star cornerback Asante Samuel, who left for Philadelphia as a free agent. The other starting cornerback, Ellis Hobbs, is coming off offseason surgeries on his left shoulder and for a sports hernia.
Wheatley, the 62nd overall pick in the draft, also is a return threat, having gained 1,350 yards on kickoff returns in college.
On Tuesday the Patriots also signed offensive lineman Lavdrim Bauta, a rookie free agent who spent his final college season at Villanova in 2006. He played the previous three seasons at Duke.
The Patriots picked Mayo -- a linebacker -- with the 10th overall selection in the draft after trading out of the No. 7 spot they obtained in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers. New England's regular first-rounder was confiscated by the league as punishment for illegally videotaping opposing coaches during games.