The 2023 NFL Draft class features a stacked group of defenders. Former JUCO standout and Mississippi State Bulldogs LB Tyrus Wheat is a name to watch as the draft approaches following a productive collegiate career. While likely a late Day 3 player, Wheat brings plenty of intangibles to the NFL after a successful college career.
While most of the conversation has been focused on the top names in the class, what does Wheat’s scouting report suggest about his NFL Draft stock?
Tyrus Wheat NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Outside Linebacker
- School: Mississippi State
- Year: Graduate Student
Coming out of Amite High School as a three-star prospect, Wheat spent his first two seasons at Copiah-Lincoln Community College, where he amassed 104 career tackles, including 8.0 for loss, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and five interceptions in 19 games.
Named first-team Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges as a sophomore, Wheat had a team-high three interceptions, including an 86-yard pick-six, and was rated the No. 2 JUCO inside linebacker.
For the 2020 season, Wheat transferred to Mississippi State, where he appeared in nine games and led the team with five sacks, recording 30 tackles (6.0 for a loss), one reception, two pass breakups, and two forced fumbles.
He led the Bulldogs with 10.5 tackles for loss with 7.5 sacks among his 46 total stops in 2021, also intercepting a pass and breaking up to others while starting all 13 games. Wheat was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2022 as he recorded 53 tackles, 10.5 for a loss, with a team-high six sacks, one interception, and two pass breakups.
Wheat has what feels like an endless motor and wanted to put that on display at the NFL Combine. At 6’2″ and 263 pounds, Wheat ran a 4.65 40-yard dash with a 1.51 10-yard split, a 28.5-inch vertical jump, and a 9’5″ broad jump.
Unfortunately, that’s likely not a performance that will move the needle for Wheat as the NFL Draft approaches, but it is only one part of the evaluation process. To see what his traits are on the field, we have to look at Wheat’s scouting report to see his strengths and areas for improvement.
Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report for Tyrus Wheat
Strengths: Athletic defensive front-seven prospect who can be used in a variety of roles. Breaks down well, displays strength, and consistently sheds blocks to make plays. Effectively uses his hands, is explosive, and has a closing burst.
Bends the edge, rushes the passer with balance, and blows past blockers to penetrate the line of scrimmage. Forceful, remains disciplined with assignments, and does more than just rush upfield. Displays the ability to drop off the line of scrimmage and play in space and holds up well against the run.
Weaknesses: Indecisive and has questionable instincts. Marginally effective in pursuing plays down the line of scrimmage.
Overall: Wheat was an all-purpose defender at Mississippi State who was used in a variety of roles. He possesses a terrific combination of size and athleticism, yet may not be able to handle a complex scheme. I personally like him as a pass-rush specialist standing over tackle, though Wheat also has ability coming out of a three-point stance.
Tyrus Wheat Combine Measurements and Results
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 260 pounds
- Arm Length: 33 1/4″
- Hand Size: 9″
- Bench Press: 28 reps
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.49 seconds
- Vertical Jump: 32″
- Broad Jump: 9’2″
Mississippi State LB Tyrus Wheat Current Draft Projection
If you need an edge rusher, you’re in luck, as the 2023 NFL Draft class features one of the most talented EDGE/OLB groups in recent years and likely has the most depth of any position in this class.
While Will Anderson Jr., Nolan Smith, and other high-profile names steal headlines, there is value to be had later on, which is the case for Wheat. Currently, Wheat is the 15th-ranked outside linebacker and the 187th overall prospect on Tony Pauline’s Big Board. With a draft grade of 3.38, Wheat is currently projected to go somewhere in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Wheat has made his name as a hybrid defender but likely needs to find a long-term home, as bouncing back and forth between positions potentially stunted his development. Wheat’s ability to drop into space or play downhill with power should help him find a role in the NFL, even if that is on special teams as he begins his journey.
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