One of several Round 3 WRs to be selected in the 2009 NFL Draft, Mike Wallace seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle during the preseason, even though he garnered nothing but positive reports from the moment he stepped foot in the Steelers practice facility. Like most of the WRs that slipped in the draft, he isn’t a physically imposing specimen, but it’s everything else that he brings to the table that will lead to a long and successful NFL career.
Wallace’s best assets are his sticky hands, burst, deep speed, athleticism and gaining yards after the catch. An additional item about him that probably got the attention of the Steelers is his downfield blocking ability. His size was one of the reasons he slipped in the draft, the other primary reason being he is very raw in regards to route running. Poor route running is the downfall to so many WRs in the NFL, but unlike many of them Wallace displayed a workman-like attitude during the offseason indicating he knew this was something he needed to improve if he wanted to succeed at the next level.
Many pegged Wallace as a multi-year project and he would not have much of an impact in year one, but thanks in large part to Limas Sweed not developing, Wallace has gotten an opportunity to be the team’s No. 3 earlier than expected. He has not disappointed, grabbing a couple of clutch passes in the Week 1 victory over the Titans and a seven-catch 100+-yard performance against the Bengals in Week 3. Meanwhile, Sweed continues to make critical drops and have mental lapses on the field. Based on coach Mike Tomlin’s comments during his press conferences it is no doubt he has taken notice, Wallace is the No. 3 WR until proven otherwise. On an offense void of a running game Wallace is actually a consideration for redraft owners, not just dynasty owners. Hopefully you got this kid on your roster before the season because he isn’t going to come cheap anymore.