Monday, May 17, 2010

Wheatley out of room?

Terrence Wheatley appears committed towards making an impact with the New England Patriots.

The problem is, he might have run out of time already.

In an article written by's Mike Reiss, Wheatley (shown left defending Randy Moss in training camp) said he is determined to show what he can do, and that there are no more "free years".

Well, that's the problem. There never were "free years". In the NFL, and especially as a relatively high pick, you are judged and evaluated from the second you step on the field. Every play you make says something. And every play you miss says something about you as well.

Wheatley, after being drafted in 2008, was expected to begin making progress in establishing a spot in a weakened Patriots secondary that had already lost Asante Samuel and Randall Gay.

Flash forward to today. It's been two years, and due to injuries, the Patriots staff has no more idea of what to expect from Wheatley than they did when they took him 62nd overall out of Colorado.

Furthermore, the Patriots have moved on. Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden have been added via free agency, and the team has given significant playing time to Jonathan Wilhite and promising sophomore Darius Butler.

And, in what might be the sign that Wheatley is on life support, New England passed over other areas of concern to address the cornerback position once more in this year's draft, selecting Rutgers product Devin McCourty 27th overall.

Add it up, and there's at least five corners on the depth chart ahead of Wheatley, with no reason to expect a full season out of the brittle 5-foot-9, 183-pounder.

Wheatley may be ready to play. Whether the Patriots are ready to let him is a different story.

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