Robert Wheelwright may not have been drafted, but it appears the former Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver will have a chance to make an NFL roster—though not necessarily with the team he initially thought.
Wheelwright will land with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent, a source told B5Q on Sunday.
On Saturday night, the 6’3, 202-pound wide receiver tweeted “Carolina Panthers.” However, plans have appeared to changed, and he’ll head to the NFC East organization to earn a roster spot and learn from the likes of Odell Beckham, Jr., and Brandon Marshall. There are currently eight wide receivers on the Giants’ roster and they did not add one in the 2017 NFL Draft (they did select versatile Ole Miss tight end Evan Engram in the first round).
Wheelwright played 47 games (18 starts) for Wisconsin over his four-year career, reeling in 69 passes for 890 yards and six touchdowns. In 2016, his most productive season as a Badger, Wheelwright caught 34 passes for 448 yards and one touchdown.
Like cornerback Sojourn Shelton and running back Corey Clement, he didn’t redshirt through his time in Madison and was part of the winningest class in school history.
Wheelwright played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl this past January after Wisconsin’s 24-16 victory over Western Michigan in the Cotton Bowl. At Wisconsin’s pro day in mid-March, he ran a 4.54-second 40-yard dash, 4.11 20-yard shuttle, and 6.68 three-cone drill. He also registered an impressive 38” vertical jump and 10’8.5” broad jump.
Rob Wheelwright recaps successful Wisconsin Pro Day performance (B5Q/YouTube)
Below is Owen Riese’s pre-draft scouting report on Wheelwright, the younger brother of former Minnesota Golden Gopher and NFL wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright.
WR Robert Wheelwright
40-Yard Dash: 4.54 seconds
Three-Cone Drill: 6.68 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.11 seconds
Bench Press: 15 reps
Broad Jump: 10’8.5”
Vertical Jump: 38”
*Height and weight taken from UW’s 2016 roster; all drills performed at Wisconsin’s pro day on March 15
Strengths: Nice size for the position. Has long arms to pluck the ball out of the air. Has shown the ability to make the spectacular catch. Long-legged and covers a lot of ground quickly. Effective as a blocker. Has adequate functional strength for the position. Knows where the sticks are in crucial situations. Gains nice separation on crossing routes. Effective with the ball in his hands.
Weaknesses: Doesn’t play with the mentality that most receivers his size possess. Played the Z position for the Badgers, played it like an X. Too much finesse for his size. At times had focus drops. Didn’t dominate smaller corners when given the opportunity.
Summary: A bit of an underachiever. Wheelwright has all of the physical tools, but hasn’t quite lived up to his four-star status. Was a dependable receiver for the last two seasons for the Badgers. Doesn’t play as big as his size suggests. Will likely play the X in the NFL, despite playing the Z in Madison. Needs to get stronger, and develop more of a mean streak. Will get a camp invite, and could stick as a practice squad player for a year or two before getting a chance at a main roster.