Mike Wallace and his N.F.L. success is a perfect example of the ineptitude of the Cleveland Browns. The Browns were looking for a WR in Rounds 2 and 3 of The 2009 N.F.L. Draft and decided to select, bear with me because I’m literally laughing as I type this: Brian Robiske and Mohamed “McLovin” Massaquoi. They had two chances to take arguably the best deep threat in the game right now that is only scratching the surface of being able to play the WR position as a whole, and they went with these two jagoffs?! It almost makes me feel sorry for the Browns. Almost. Anyways, we in Steeler Nation know the story of Wally’s rise to fame. After essentially stealing the 3rd WR slot away from Limas Sweed like candy from a fat baby early in 2009 Wally showed his talent for speed, running 9 routes, and making big time plays (Game Winning TD vs. Green Bay). Then in 2010 after San-smokio was (unjustly I feel) let go by the Steelers, the 6′ 200 lb. speedster just turned on the afterburners, lit up the League, and became the Steelers #1 receiving option by the end of the season.
Wallace’s emergence as a deep threat has brought the bomb back into the Steelers’ passing attack over the last couple of years. With that part of his game down pat, Wallace is primed for an even bigger year in 2011 where he will develop himself further as a route runner and solidify himself as a #1 WR in the N.F.L.. I mean even last season you knew you were watching greatness. Just look at his stats from 2010:
60 balls snagged for 1257 yards and 10 TD’s. 21 Y.P.C. (1st in A.F.C., 2nd in N.F.L.), (5th in N.F.L. in Total Rec. Yards), (T-3rd in A.F.C., T-7th in N.F.L.) in TD Rec. by WR. Just to put it in perspective, Wally finished only 2nd to DeSean Jackson in Y.P.C., he had more Rec. Yards than Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Bowe, Miles Austin, and Larry Fitzgerald, he had more TD Rec. than Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Marshall, Jackson, and as many as Roddy White. And this was a season where his transition to the #2 role at the beginning of the year was considered a question mark after San-smokio’s departure!
In terms of stats, Wallace will probably see his reception total go up in 2011 as he entrenches himself further as the #1 target for Big Ben and the Steelers. Furthermore, with the three slot guys I will discuss below creating mismatches and drawing attention, Wallace could see some more one on one coverage as well where he has sub 4.3 speed to burn. Before I gush even more, let me just close by saying how much it amazes me that this is only Mike’s third season in the N.F.L.. The more experience, the better he will inevitably get, the higher his stats will rise, and for opponents that’s a scary thought.