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Wheaton: 'There is a lot of pressure'

The NFL Scouting Combine is the ultimate job interview for more than 300 of the top college players. It's an opportunity to prove yourself in front of every NFL head coach, assistant coach, general manager, scout and just about everyone else involved in NFL football operations who descend upon Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Several Steelers shared what their past Combine experience was like.

For Markus Wheaton the Combine was all about setting goals. He finished with a mixed bag, reaching some of the goals, but falling short on others. But all-in-all, he was pleased.

"For the 40 I wanted a 4.3," said Wheaton. "They came and told me 4.3 was my hand time and the electric was a 4.4. I was upset about that. I think it was the 60-yard shuttle I was one of the top two. My broad jump wasn't where I wanted it to be, but close. I was top 10 in everything so I was happy about that."

Wheaton was no stranger to the Combine, having watched it on NFL Network. But no matter how much you watch it, when you get there and all NFL eyes are upon you, it's a whole different ball game. 

"There is a lot of pressure, especially when you first get out there," recalled Wheaton. "Then, once I got set I thought I was fine, that I was relaxed. We went through the jumps first and there was nothing much with that. It's when you get to the 40-yard dash and everyone is watching you. It's pretty nerve wracking. I was so tuned in I didn't see anybody.

"It's just like football. Once you start playing you aren't thinking about anything like that. You are tuned in and doing what you have to do. As an athlete you are used to being in front of the cameras, so I didn't think much about it."

One thing that stood out at the Combine for center Maurkice Pouncey were the interviews with the teams and how he had an immediate connection with the Steelers.

"Coming out of that meeting I knew this team was going to draft me," said Pouncey. "They didn't tell me exactly, but the way they acted, the things they said, the clips we watched and what we talked about on and off the field I felt so comfortable with them. The only person I told was my brother. Even when my mom asked who I thought was going to draft me, I told her I don't know. When that day came I knew the Steelers were going to draft me.

"Going into the Combine you think all you need is one team out of 32 to like you, so just go out there and impress everybody. Walking out of that meeting with the Steelers made me so extremely happy. I thought this is where I am going to be and it happened."


The 2016 Steelers Fan Blitz presented by Xfinity will be held at Heinz Field on Saturday, April 30. For ticket information and details click on Steelers Fan Blitz.

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