Tylan Wallace is many things, but is “future NFL first round pick” going to be among them? The 6’0, 185-pound soon-to-be junior was spectacular last season as he
got robbed of the Biletnikoff finished runner up as the nation’s best receiver. But will that translate at the next level?
With the 2019 NFL Draft in our rearview mirror, many people (I call them addicts) are already looking ahead to the 2020 NFL Draft. The Pokes will try and extend their 11-year streak of having at least one player drafted to 12 years as Wallace joins a list of players who will be eligible to be drafted (a list that will include, gulp, Chuba Hubbard).
Anyway, SB Nation, which recently released its too-early 2020 mock draft had Wallace going at the end of the first round to Kansas City to replace … somebody you’re probably pretty familiar with.
If Tyreek Hill is done in Kansas City, the Chiefs may need more than Mecole Hardman to replace him. Last season Wallace had 86 receptions for 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns. [SB Nation]
But is that realistic for somebody with Wallace’s (lack of) size (albeit with oversized numbers)? Let’s look at the last five years of wide receivers taken in the first round of the NFL Draft as a guide.
- Marquise Brown | OU | Pick 25 | 5’10 — 168 lbs.
- N’Keal Harry | Arizona State | Pick 32 | 6’3 — 213 lbs.
- D.J. Moore | Maryland | Pick 21 | 5’11 — 215 lbs.
- Calvin Ridley | Alabama | Pick 23 | 6’1 — 190 lbs.
- Corey Davis | W. Michigan | Pick 5 | 6’3 — 209 lbs.
- Mike Williams | Clemson | Pick 7 | 6’4 — 220 lbs.
- John Ross | Washington | Pick 9 | 5’11 — 190 lbs.
- Corey Coleman | Baylor | Pick 15 | 5’11 — 185 lbs.
- Will Fuller | Notre Dame | Pick 21 | 6’0 — 184 lbs.
- Josh Doctson | TCU | Pick 22 | 6’2 — 202 lbs.
- Laquon Treadwell | Ole Miss | Pick 23 | 6’2 — 215 lbs.
- Amari Cooper | Alabama | Pick 4 | 6’1 — 210 lbs.
- Kevin White | West Virginia | Pick 7 | 6’3 — 216 lbs.
- DeVante Parker | Louisville | Pick 14 | 6’3 — 216 lbs.
- Nelson Agholor | USC | Pick 20 | 6’0 — 198 lbs.
- Breshad Perriman | C. Florida | Pick 26 | 6’2 — 215 lbs.
- Phillip Dorsett | Miami | Pick 29 | 5’10 — 192 lbs.
I guess my only issue here is that the two things it seems to take to get taken as a WR in Round 1 — elite speed (Ross and Brown) or elite size (Treadwell etc.) — are not necessarily things that Wallace possesses.
If you look at all the guys on this list at 190 lbs. or smaller, only Coleman and Ridley ran above 4.4 at the NFL Combine, and they were both in the 4.42 range (Hollywood didn’t run because he was
scared of Justice hurt). So is Wallace going to run in the 4.3s or even right at 4.4? Maybe, but I don’t know that everything is pointing to that (his recruiting profile tells me he was around 4.6 in high school). I see him as more of a James Washington — a little smaller, a little slower but ridiculously skilled.
There’s a difference here of course between being a good pro and being a first round pick. The NFL loves things you can measure because the NFL is big business, and you want to be able to quantify your assets. I don’t doubt that Tylan can play for a long time at the next level. I do doubt whether he can become OSU’s first offensive player picked in the first round since … Justin Blackmon and Brandon Weeden in 2012.
But who knows. Maybe he repeats last season, wins the Biletnikoff this year and drops a 4.44 at the NFL Combine in 2020 to go at the end of the first round. It’s certainly on the table, but — and it feels pretty strange to say this given how ridiculous his sophomore season was — there’s still a lot to prove before tabbing him even a borderline first round guy.