Based on the initial reaction from Pro Football Focus following the Pittsburgh Steelers’ signing of veteran cornerback Levi Wallace in free agency in the first week of the new league year in March, the Steelers got themselves a good one at the position.
PFF’s Sam Monson followed up the hype with Wallace on Thursday, calling the fifth-year undrafted free agent cornerback the Steelers’ “most underrated player” on the roster as part of his piece identifying the most underrated player on each team.
For Monson, Wallace was the easy choice for the Steelers, even if he is still new to the team and hasn’t taken a snap in the black and gold.
“Wallace is a classic underdog story. An undersized cornerback without special physical traits, he was a walk-on at Alabama and went undrafted in the NFL before going on to start consistently for Buffalo opposite Tre’Davious White,” Monson writes. “He likely won’t ever be a great player, but he’s consistently better than he is given credit for and exceeds expectations because of it. Wallace has never earned a below-average PFF coverage grade in a season, and he’ll likely continue to impress after signing with the Steelers this offseason.”
Wallace is a good story overall, having walked on to Alabama, developing into a starting cornerback on a National Championship team, then entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent before becoming a starter right away in a talented Buffalo Bills’ secondary.
The story is great and all, but the play has been even better. Sure, he’s not going to be a star in the NFL — not everybody can be. But he’s a dependable cornerback that defends the run well and can be sticky in coverage. As Monson points out, Wallace has never recorded a below-average PFF coverage grade in a season. That’s very telling.
He’ll most likely slot in as the No. 2 cornerback opposite Ahkello Witherspoon, which will allow Cameron Sutton to slide back into the slot, strengthening the Steelers’ cornerbacks room that much more. It might not appear pretty on paper, but there’s talent there, and as PFF’s Monson points out, Wallace is the most underrated of the bunch.
That chip on his shoulder continues to carry him, and will probably make him a fan favorite rather quickly in Pittsburgh.