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Wallace is our man

November 12, 2009 By: Admin Category: Players

Steelers rookie wide receiver Mike Wallace wasn’t drafted until the third round of the 2009 NFL draft.  He was actually the 10th wide receiver taken in the draft.  That’s right, 10th!  I’ll bet a lot of NFL general managers wish they could have a “do over”.

If you listen to NFL analysts, you’d think that Minnesota’s rookie wide receiver Percy Harvin was the runaway star of the wide receiver class of 2009.  In fact, by listening to them, you’d think that Harvin was the ONLY member of the class.

Admittedly, Harvin has been pretty good in the kick return game.  He has 860 return yards, and is leading all rookies by a long way.  But if we eliminate kick returns and look exclusively at their production as wide receivers, I’d argue that Wallace has been the best in the class so far.  Wallace is in the top 5 in almost all statistical categories among rookie receivers, and he leads in many of them.

Steelers WR Mike Wallace

Steelers rookie WR Mike Wallace

Wallace is tied for 4th in total number of receptions.

Name Team Receptions
Austin Collie IND 32
Percy Harvin MIN 28
Johnny Knox CHI 28
Jeremy Maclin PHI 25
Mike Wallace PIT 25

A more important statistic, in my opinion, is receiving yardage. That statistic shows how effective the receiver has been in actually moving the ball down the field. In this area, Mike Wallace is tops among rookie receivers.

Name Team Yards
Mike Wallace PIT 437
Hakeem Nicks NYG 407
Percy Harvin MIN 369
Austin Collie IND 356
Johnny Knox CHI 340

The reason Wallace has been able to accumulate so many yards is not primarily due to his number of receptions. Rather it is how effective he has been at getting LONG receptions.

To put it simply, Wallace has been much more effective than his rookie peers at burning NFL cornerbacks for long gains.  I projected that this would be the case coming out of Steelers training camp after watching Wallace burn Steelers cornerbacks just about every day.

Wallace leads all rookie wide receivers in receptions of 20 yards or more.

Name Team 20+ yards
Mike Wallace PIT 9
Hakeem Nicks NYG 6
Percy Harvin MIN 6
Mohamed Mossaquoi CLE 6
Jeremy Maclin PHI 4

In fact, Wallace is tied for third in the entire NFL in receptions of 20 yards or more.  That’s pretty impressive for a rookie.

Wallace is also tied With Jeremy Maclin and Percy Harvin for second in touchdowns among rookie wide receiver with 3. The key difference is that Maclin and Harvin were both 1st round draft picks, while Wallace was a 3rd rounder.

Noticeably absent from all of these lists of rookie statistical leaders is Darius Heyward-Bey, the first wide receiver selected in the draft.  Heyward-Bey has accumulated a whopping 5 receptions for a total of 74 yards.  Way to go, Al Davis!

Mike Wallace has already shown himself to be as good as any rookie wide receiver from the 2009 draft.  His statistics prove that.  He is just another example of the superior scouting of Kevin Colbert and the Steelers organization.

Steeler Nation already knows how good Mike Wallace is.  I just wish that NFL analysts and other “experts” would come to the same realization.  When they do, Mike Wallace will start being included in the discussions about potential  offensive rookie of the year award winners.

Percy Harvin may ultimately win the award, but Mike Wallace won’t make it easy on him.


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12 Comments to “Wallace is our man”

  1. While Mike Wallace has been a pleasant surprise, Percy Harvin is having the better year and, so far, is deserving of the Rookie of the Year honors for the NFL. As a Steelers fan, I am far mote interested in team awards in February than individual accolades along the way. ;)

  2. Robert,
    I agree. Percy Harvin’s production in the return game has been impressive. He will probably win the ROY award. However, as a pure receiver, I’d argue that Wallace has been just as good, if not better.

  3. Admin, I agree with you. Harvin may have a career as a receiver/return guy, and there is no shame in that. But I believe Wallace will be the better reciever of the two. Now if we can only get Sweed to play to his potential, we would have 4 great wide outs. It could happen.

  4. Wallace has proven, in my opinion, to be a better pure receiver than Harvin. I am looking forward to many more years of Wallace’s speed burning the best corners in the NFL!

  5. @ Mark - I think the writing is all over the walls and it says “Limas Sweed is DONE”. Now it may be a tad bit of overreacting but he’s had his opportunities and fell like a house of cards every time. I’d be surprised if he’s with the team much longer past this season unless he’s really good at special teams, which he isn’t. Does anyone remember Fred Gibson another 2nd round draft pick WR bust?

  6. Sorry Benny, but I have to disagree with you on this one. Sure, Limas Sweed has had some bad drops. REALLY bad. But I still think he is going to be a good receiver in the future. He just has to stop thinking so much and do what comes naturally (and no, I don’t mean “drop the ball”).

    Do you remember Nate Washington’s first few years with the team? Plenty of dropped passes. But he eventually got it together. I still believe that Limas Sweed will get it together too.

  7. drobviousso says:

    Well, I hope this table’s formatting turns out. Here’s a listing of the top 15 WR’s, sorted in yards/target. You’ll notice that Wallace is number 6, and there are three Steelers in the top 15. Harvin is #32. Macklin #36. I don’t particularly care for player of the year awards, because they are more about perception than reality, but it’s pretty cool to see so many young guys having great years.

    Player Team Targets Yards Yrd/tgt
    M.Austin DAL 46 612 13.30
    V.Jackson SD 63 722 11.46
    D.Henderson NO 40 451 11.28
    S.Rice MIN 53 585 11.04
    H.Nicks NYG 38 407 10.71
    M.Wallace PIT 41 437 10.66
    M.Sims-Walker JAC 53 554 10.45
    D.Driver GB 59 613 10.39
    S.Breaston ARI 46 466 10.13
    M.Colston NO 59 596 10.10
    H.Ward PIT 64 646 10.09
    K.Washington BAL 34 335 9.85
    D.Jackson PHI 55 530 9.64
    S.Holmes PIT 62 590 9.52
    D.Hester CHI 58 548 9.45

  8. drobviousso says:

    Well, that didn’t turn out nice. You can see the whole list, down to number 81 here:

  9. I disagree with the comparison to Nate Washington the first time remember seeing Nate around the ball was against Denver in the AFC Championship game and he actually “caught” the ball for a touchdown. I could be wrong but I remember the announcer saying that was first catch of the season and career. Now I’m not saying he needs to catch only touchdowns or that Nate was perfect but he needs to make the most out of all the opportunities given to him which up to this point he has not. I’m not a betting man but if I had to put money on it I’d say Limas has about 25% of being successful in the NFL with Steelers.

  10. benny and donald,

    i love it! disagreement. :)

    I wouldn’t use nate as an example. he is showing very little evidence of being a successful wr right now.

    I have to agree with benny. a limas sweed can be found in any offseason on free agent market. in fact, we could find better on some practice squads probably.

    Now, i will concede this donald. plaxico looked pretty sad at times in the beginning and we let him go only to see him become….ok, maybe not a good example either.

  11. Wallace has been an absolute marvel and the steal of the draft for the Steelers since…(I’m still waiting?)As much as bust that Sweed has been much to my surprise. I would not give up on him yet. He has the raw material. It’s confidence-that can be fixed. If Bruce Davis can get as many chances as he did, I would give Sweed this year and next year’s camp before letting him go.

  12. john#21,

    I agree. But he is on my crap list right now. He needs to light it up if he wants a spot when hines calls it quits (oh, what a horrible thought :( )


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