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  • Writer's pictureThinking Orange

Prospect Profile: WR Tylan Wallace

Takeaways from the Tape

Highlight Reel Catches

Wallace makes some incredible highlight reel catches that showcase body control, tracking skill, strong hands, and the ability to play the ball through contact. This is far and away the best part of his game, and what sets him apart from other prospects.

Strength to Generate Yards After Contact

Wallace displays strength as a runner, with defenders often failing to bring him down on their initial attempt.

Not Dynamic After the Catch

Despite his ability to generate YAC with strength, Wallace is not super dynamic with the ball in his hands. He doesn't have a ton of make-you-miss moves, and is not especially explosive (in a straight line or laterally).

Competent Route Runner

Wallace's routes are workmanlike. They lack deception and he's not going to break anyone's ankles, but he runs clean, no-frills patterns.

As an example, he sets himself up for success on this slant by dipping his shoulder to win inside position, but there's very little explosiveness coming out of the break (bottom of the screen, ignore the picture-in-picture).

It's a well-executed route that displays good technique, but this is not NFL caliber burst.

It's worth noting that Wallace injured his ACL in 2019, and that he was more dynamic and sudden prior to the injury—but not exceptionally so. Wallace's 2020 tape suggests that he might not have regained his former explosiveness, which is concerning for a player that showed borderline burst even prior to the injury. Many players make full recoveries from ACL tears; hopefully NFL strength training will help Wallace not only rebuild his previous explosiveness, but add to it.

Can Get Eaten Alive at the Line of Scrimmage

There are lots of reps on Wallace's tape where he gets downright bullied at the line of scrimmage. This is somewhat surprising because as noted above, he displays strength both at the catch point and as a runner.

Here's a Tulsa CB forcing him all the way out of bounds (top of the screen).

The replay shows that this was probably pass interference on the CB, but even so Wallace is getting outmuscled. And this is not an isolated incident—Wallace allows the CB to press him into the sideline several more times this game, eventually resulting in an interception (top of the screen).

In fact, this sort of rep shows up all over Wallace's tape. There are at least four instances of it against Oklahoma.

Getting squeezed to the boundary like this is really bad. Not only does it become harder to separate, but it also shrinks the QB's passing window. From what I can tell, Wallace simply lacks strategies for dealing with this sort of press coverage; hopefully NFL coaching will help him acquire some.

Lined Up in One Spot

Wallace was glued to the right side of the formation in 2020. This doesn't necessarily mean he'll be unable to transition to other alignments, but seeing a WR take nearly all his reps from a single spot on the field gives me unpleasant Kevin White vibes.

Probable Career Outcomes

Humans can't predict the future, but with some good scouting (or statistical modeling) it's possible to sketch a fuzzy outline of probable outcomes.

The probability curve below is a freehand approximation, and is not algorithm-generated. Think of it as a prospect grade, much like other analysts assign scores such as "83 out of 100", "6.2 out of 10", "blue-chip player", or "B+".

Tylan Wallace Career Outcome Probability Distribution

Open Questions That Will Shape Wallace's Career

The answers to the following questions will determine where Wallace ultimately lands on the spectrum of possible career outcomes:

  • DBs were able to bully Wallace off his route too often in college. Will he improve his ability to release through contact?

  • Will he regain (and ideally add to) his pre-injury explosiveness?

  • Will he see enough downfield 50/50 balls to show off the best part of his game?

  • After being more or less glued to his X receiver spot on the right side of the field, how will he handle being moved around the formation?

  • Will his workmanlike approach to route running be good enough in the NFL, especially underneath where there's less opportunity to play the ball in the air?

Wallace could look like Chris Godwin (or even Brandon Lloyd) if he produces positive answers to all these questions. Otherwise, he's likely to find himself on a Kenny Lawler trajectory as an excellent contested catch player in college that was never quite able to elevate the other parts of his game to an NFL standard.

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