From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#2 Tylan Wallace WR/Oklahoma State – 5’11, 193
– Smooth athlete with elite body control
– Plucks the ball out of the air with consistency
– Plays physically through the catch point, not afraid to hand fight throughout routes
– Great ball tracker that showcases strong hands at catch point
– Shows great awareness in finding holes in zone coverage and exploiting them
– Shows a solid burst with the ball in his hands
– Plays with attitude, willing blocker on the edge
– Displays route running nuance, sells vertical routes with great footwork
– Good starting experience against quality competition
– Uses a variety of releases at LOS to leave defenders off balance
– Plays bigger than size suggests, showcases smooth transitions in and out of route breaks
– Missed last five games of 2019 season with knee injury
– Not a natural route separator, lacks top end straight line speed
– At times allows defenders to keep hands on, disrupt route timing
– Could sink hips better in and out of breaks, allowing defenders to stay attached
– Played almost exclusively on the right side of formation due to the offensive system
– Route tree fairly limited in college, would like to see more slot usage
– Not a player who thrives on YAC situations, despite having a solid burst
– Played in 45 career games at Oklahoma State
– Finished career with 205 receptions, 3,434 yards, averaged 16.8 yards per receptions and scored 27 total touchdowns (26 receiving, one rushing).
– 2018 Biletnikoff Award Finalist
– 2018 First-Team All-America (The Sporting News, ESPN)
– 2018 Second-Team All-America (Walter Camp, Associated Press, Sports Illustrated, USA Today)
– 2018, 2020 First-Team All-Big 12 (Coaches and AP)
– 2019 Second Team All-Big 12 (Coaches, AP)
– Four-star recruit from South Hills High School in Texas, chose Oklahoma State over a long list of other offers, including Oklahoma, Michigan, Washington, Notre Dame, among others.– Suffered a torn ACL in the ninth game of the 2019 season.
Tylan Wallace has been on the NFL’s radar since his breakout sophomore season, where he was a Biletnikoff Award Finalist, amassing nearly 1,500 receiving yards, and 12 receiving touchdowns. He was having a stellar 2019 season before he tore his ACL, and returned to form in 2020, looking healthy off of his knee injury.
Wallace is a great deep threat option that has upside as an all around receiver, but was limited due to his role in the Cowboys offense. His contested catch ability is up there with some of the best in the 2021 NFL Draft class as well.
In this first clip against Texas this year, Tylan Wallace shows off his athleticism and fearless attitude while attacking the ball in the air. Wallace follows his scramble drill rules, finds open grass and goes up to snag the football out of the air, accepting the hit through the catch. Not to mention, with just over a minute left in the game down by three points.
One of Wallace’s biggest strengths is selling the vertical route, which allows him to attack his defender’s leverage and flip their hips. Against Kansas, he runs one of his routes on tape. Like mentioned above, he attacks the defender’s leverage, breaks towards the inside as if he’s heading to the post, then breaks out to the front pie-line for a touchdown. His footwork is quick, precise and deadly on this play.
One of the things Tylan Wallace struggles with is allowing defender’s to stay in his hip pocket and play physical with him throughout the route. Against Texas Tech, he had a back and forth battle with DaMarcus Fields, who was able to disrupt the timing on this vertical route. The ball is thrown on Wallace’s back shoulder, and because he doesn’t stack Fields, the margin where the ball can fit in is small. Wallace doesn’t have above average length so the ball falls just past his finger tips.
An underrated part of running routes effectively is stemming it, meaning setting up the defender by attacking a specific side of their body to open their hips. Wallace does that to perfection against TCU. He takes an outside release, begins to open up his strides to make the defender believe he’s running a vertical route, and stops on a dime to catch the ball on a comeback route. Shows suddenness and quickness in and out of his breaks.
When the ball is in the air, there are very few things that keep him from catching the ball. Sometimes, players just have that mentality where if he doesn’t catch the ball, no one will. Wallace has that mentality. He does a nice job using his body to shield off the defender, uses late hands to go up and snatch the ball at its highest point here against Texas.
Once again, Wallace struggles with physical corner play. Against TCU here, the defensive back stays locked to his hip, gains position and forces Wallace to play defense on this play. As well as Wallace catches contested passes, he at times allows the defender to out physical him for positions.
Final play from Wallace here showcases all of his biggest strengths, from route stemming speed variation to playing strong through contact. Against Texas Tech, Tylan Wallace does a nice job changing speeds while stemming the defender, accelerating through his route break where he turns the route into a straight vertical route. He blows past the defensive back as he grabs at him, stacks him, locates and tracks the ball and finishes the play with a strong catch, despite a near pass break up attempt by the defensive back. A textbook play from start to finish for Wallace.
While there are some concerns with ability to separate with speed and allowing defensive backs to be physical with him, Wallace will be a highly sought after receiver on Day 2 of the NFL Draft. He possesses great body control, strong hands and showcases great route nuance that should allow him to play as a slot receiver in certain situations. He’s not a player who you have to get the ball in space to, which is nice, and could be a great fit in Pittsburgh should they decide to move on from JuJu Smith-Schuster.
I also believe his explosiveness as an athlete will be even better in year two since his ACL injury. He plays much faster than his 40 yard dash wll show. Due to the depth of the receiver class and the draft as a whole, there’s a chance Wallace could still be on the board late in Round 3.
Projection: 2nd-3rd Round
Games Watched: vs. Texas, at TCU , vs Texas Tech, at Kansas