2021 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Tylan Wallace (Fantasy Football)

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With NFL Free Agency winding down, it’s time to turn our attention back to preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft. The Fantasy Footballers writing staff has been putting together our 2021 Rookie Profiles, including featured pieces on DeVonta Smith, Ja’Marr Chase, and Kadarius Toney, among others. The next prospect in the rookie profile series is Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace, who projects as a day two NFL Draft pick this April. Before breaking down how Wallace projects for fantasy football, I’ll review his college production profile, look at his measurables and then perform an analysis of what’s on tape and what’s missing from his game. Let’s get to it!

Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2021 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the brand-new UDK+ for 2021.

College Production Profile
Games Receptions Receiving Yards Yards/Reception Receiving TDs
2017 6 7 118 16.9 0
2018 13 86 1491 17.3 12
2019 9 53 903 17.0 8
2020 10 59 917 15.5 6

After a predictably slow start to his college career, Tylan Wallace burst onto the scene in 2018 as a true sophomore, catching almost 90 footballs for 1,500 yards and 12 TDs. Just how good was Wallace’s 2018 season? His 12 TD receptions ranked 8th most in college football while his 1,491 receiving yards were the most of any pass catcher in the Big 12. He was named a finalist for the Biletnikoff award but ended up finishing behind Jerry Jeudy in voting. If you’re into advanced metrics like breakout age and dominator rating, Tylan Wallace pops as an early producer in his college career. Per the Rookie Production Profiles in the Dynasty Pass, Wallace’s breakout age of 19.3 ranks 8th best among all wide receivers in the 2021 class. When scouting rookie wide receivers, it’s nice to see a prospect who produces early in his college career, so Wallace certainly checks that box.

Relative to his 2018 breakout season, 2019 looks like a disappointing season on the surface, but Wallace only played in nine games as a junior because he tore the ACL in his knee in a late October practice, causing him to miss the remainder of his junior season. There’s always question marks about how a WR would have performed throughout the entirety of a season, but if you extrapolate out his nine-game pace from 2019, Wallace’s numbers probably would have looked a lot closer to 71 receptions, 1,200 yards, and ten TDs. Even in a limited season, he still averaged over 100 receiving yards per game.

Wallace’s 2020 season is difficult to evaluate for multiple reasons. First, as is the case with nearly every college prospect this season, 2020’s college football season was a mess thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Second, his senior season started less than a full calendar year removed from ACL surgery. Third, the QB play from Oklahoma State last year was…not great. All things considered, however, it was nice to see Wallace come out and do what he does best – excel on the deep ball in contested catch situations, helping round out a career 16.7 yards per reception average.

Measurables
Height Weight 40-Yard Dash (HS) Vertical Jump (HS) 247Sports
5’11” 193 lbs. 4.58 34.1 4-star recruit

For now, consider these high school measurables a placeholder, as Oklahoma State will hold their pro day on April 1. Be sure to check back for updated athletic testing numbers after the first. Wallace’s tape shows much more athleticism than does his measurables, especially from high school. An insane jump-ball receiver, Wallace pops as a guy who’s more explosive on tape than the number suggests.

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At 5’11”, there is some concern that he could have an uphill battle when it comes to competing with longer corners at the NFL level, especially considering Wallace was exclusively used as a perimeter WR in college. For a guy who routinely won on jump balls, it’s surprising to see Wallace officially come in at under 6 feet tall. All in all, Wallace’s size profile is good, but not great for a guy who played exclusively on the perimeter in college. It’s possible we see his NFL team use him more in the slot, which based on the way the NFL game is evolving, may not be a bad thing.

What’s On Tape

Games viewed: Oklahoma (2018), Texas (2019), Texas Tech (2019) Tulsa (2019), Oregon State (2020), Oklahoma (2020), West Virginia (2020)

1. Tylan Wallace wins at the catch point.

Okay, first off that double move was nasty. I love Wallace’s ability to sell the slant route, stick his foot in the ground to change direction on the double move, and create separation. The QB severely underthrew the ball, but Wallace shows excellent body control and the ability to high point the football, probably his best attribute. This shows up over and over again on tape. He consistently wins on contested catches. In fact, Wallace hauled in the 4th most contested catches in college football in 2020.

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2. Wallace is a deep ball machine.

As we’ve already established, Tylan Wallace excels at the catch point and he put up gaudy yards per reception numbers in the Big 12. Well, that’s largely in part thanks to his ability to get downfield and win when the ball is in the air. Wallace ranked 13th in deep yards and 5th in receptions of 20+ yards last season among all college wideouts.

3. Tylan Wallace has excellent burst off the line of scrimmage.

What Wallace lacks in top-end speed, he makes up for in burst off the line. His quickness of the line helps him create separation early in the route tree, important for a guy like Wallace who isn’t the most nuanced route runner in the class. The thing that was most encouraging about this attribute is that it surprisingly didn’t seem to be affected when comparing the 2019 tape versus the 2020 tape following his ACL surgery.

What’s Not on Tape?

1. Can Tylan Wallace play in the slot or on the left side of the field?

Wallace lined up exclusively at the right WR position for Oklahoma State. In the heat map graphic below, the red zones, or the ‘hot zones’ indicate where Wallace ran his routes and saw his targets the most. As you can see, the left side is cold…like ice cold. Furthermore, over his final three seasons in school, Wallace only lined up in the slot 10.8% of the time. This isn’t to say Wallace can’t play the slot position or the left WR position in the NFL – we just haven’t seen it, and that does raise some questions regarding his versatility at the next level.

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The image above if from Pro Football Focus’ 2021 NFL Draft Guide. Full credit goes to PFF and the author of the Draft Guide, Mike Renner.

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2. Wallace is an unrefined route runner, especially in the short to the intermediate passing game.

The route tree that Oklahoma State asked Wallace to run was pretty limited. They lined him up on the right side of the field and set him up to run a ton of go routes and comebacks with an occasional post or out route. However, Wallace didn’t need to run many crossers, slants, or any routes that displaced short-area quickness and change of direction in the intermediate passing game. As the game and route concepts become more complex in the NFL, I expect we could see a learning curve from Wallace at the next level.

2021 Fantasy Outlook

Wallace profiles as a late-round 2 or early-round 3 NFL Draft pick in April, suggesting he’ll be a player who is unlikely to be the focal point of an NFL offense early in his pro career, especially in his rookie season. As a result, the 2021 redraft outlook for Wallace is relatively uninspiring. However, Wallace looks like the type of prospect who could slip into the late 2nd round of rookie drafts in dynasty formats, making him a great value beyond 2021.

For a player who checks the boxes of breakout age and dominator rating and has some exciting film, Wallace is a high upside investment in dynasty at a relatively cheap price. That said, it looks like he could use a year in the NFL to expand his route tree and further develop into a more complete wide receiver. Don’t be surprised to see flashes from Wallace in his rookie year, but expecting consistent production right out of the gate is probably unrealistic.

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