In the early November meeting between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, rookie cornerback Artie Burns made his first career start and while he did have a few hiccups during that game, he did gain a little respect from at least one wide receiver that’s been in the league for quite a few years.
That wide receiver was none other than Mike Wallace, who spent four seasons in Pittsburgh at the start of his career after being drafted by the Steelers in the third-round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Immediately after the Ravens beat the Steelers, Wallace, who had a 95-yard touchdown in the game, praised Burns while describing what happened on the play he scored on.
“He’s a really good corner, though,” said Wallace of Burns. “I like him. I haven’t played against him, he’s a rookie, obviously, but I think he’ll be a really good player. But on that play, it was just man-to-man, ran a slant.”
During his Wednesday conference call with the Pittsburgh media, Wallace was asked which current Steelers’ defender reminds him of one from the time he played with the organization.
“I would have to go with No. 25 (Artie Burns) as an Ike (Taylor) type of player, Wallace said, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “Really fast guy. Smart. Young guy, but I see him getting better every week. I just really like him.”
“I think Artie is going to be a great player. Honestly, I like him. I wish we had him over here. I think he is a good player. I think he is going to be a great one. He is evolving. He has some great hands. He is patient and that is important.”
Burns, who recorded his first NFL interception in that November loss to the Ravens, has since added two more picks and he is now the first Steelers rookie to record three interceptions in a regular season since former safety Scott Shields accomplished the feat in 1999.
While it’s probably a bit premature to start comparing him to Ike Taylor, he certainly appears to have the better hands of the two players. Taylor, by the way, didn’t record his third career interception until his fourth season in the league. He went on to record 14 during his 12-year career.
Sunday in Pittsburgh, Burns will likely get quite a few opportunities to show Wallace just how much he’s improved since the two players last squared off back in Week 9 and hopefully he can keep the speedy wide receiver in check this time around and especially when it comes to deep passes.
“He is always in the right position and he plays the deep ball really well,” Wallace said of Burns.