Chad Wheeler achieved All-American status at USC, but the tackle’s prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft are contained to the middle rounds.
After wrapping up his successful USC career with a victory in the Rose Bowl, tackle Chad Wheeler will wait to find out his NFL fate on draft weekend.
Wheeler was an All-American and All-Pac-12 first teamer to end his Trojan career, reliably protecting Sam Darnold’s blindside at left tackle in 2016.
At 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, Wheeler is taller than most lineman but athletically he disappointed at the NFL Combine with below-average workout numbers.
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One of the other big knocks against Wheeler is a long list of injury problems, but the lineman still managed to start 45 games across his five years with the Trojans and thrived on the field.
Game film will work much more positively in Wheeler’s favor than drills from the Combine or Pro Day, but those things have limited the Santa Monica-product’s stock as the draft approaches.
“Wheeler moves well and is best suited for an outside zone-blocking scheme but his inability to sustain blocks will make him a hard fit for any scheme. Wheeler might be a better fit on the interior but his susceptibility to get over powered may show up even more on the inside. Wheeler needs to add weight and power to his game to be a fit at the next level..”— Pro Football Focus
“A move blocker with the ability to operate confidently in space while lacking the power to whip the man across from him. Lack of core strength and consistent footwork in pass protection could force him to make a move inside to guard for a zone team. Could become an eventual starter, but might be best-suited as a swing tackle on the NFL level.”— Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
“Wheeler is a tall college OT that might need to convert inside to guard or center in the NFL. He has good height with a somewhat narriw build and shorter than ideal arm length (33 7/8′). He moves better than his workout times but lacks core strength.”— ESPN
Even though CBS Sports lists him with a third round grade, most mock drafts have Wheeler going somewhere on Day 3.
Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com projects the Cincinnati Bengals to snag Wheeler with pick No. 176. Matt Miller of Bleacher Report has Wheeler going just a little bit earlier at No. 154 to the Washington Redskins. Meanwhile, Drafttek.com boosts the tackle to a fourth round pick at No. 115 to Carolina.
A conservative projection puts Wheeler in the fifth round range on draft day.