After the signing of Mike Wallace, many Steeler fans could not wait to knock this guy for being a one trick pony and for his apparent inability to catch the ball. We all know that more targets increases the odds of having more drops then say, a 2nd or 3rd WR. I get it, for the same reason Steeler fans are now bashing Wallace, I am defending him.
We tend to stand behind the players of our teams and a serious case of denial usually follows as we lose a good player. We find any reason to justify the release or trade (Brandon Marshall comes to mind or more recently Reggie Bush and Jake Long).
Steeler fans mentioned that he would drop balls at the most inopportune moments. I guess his 32 tds through four seasons occured during these inopportune moments as well. He probably just scored those touchdowns when the Steelers were out of the game and trying to play catch up.
Are these accusations of Wallace having bad hands and being only a deep threat accurate?
The following receivers are the obvious choices for the best in the league and this was apparent through their first four seasons that they would be elite for a long time to come. So how does Mike Wallace compare through his first four seasons?
Calvin Johnson (2007-2010) 270 receptions / 4,191 receiving yards / 33 tds / 15.5 y/r / 65.5 y/g
Andre Johnson (2003-2006) 311 receptions / 3,953 receiving yards / 17 tds / 12.7 y/r / 61.8 y/g
Larry Fitzgerald (2004-2007) 330 receptions / 4,544 receiving yards / 34 tds / 13.8 y/r / 71 y/g
Mike Wallace (2009-2012) 235 receptions / 4,042 receiving yards / 32 tds / 17.2 y/r / 64.2 y/g
One trick pony or not, if you are keeping pace with the top 3 wide receivers in the league from a statistical standpoint, you are dominating in some form. Obviously, these guys continued dominating and improved throughout their careers. Hopefully Wallace has not topped out and will continue to grow. His yards per catch average of 17.2 definitely supports that he has big play ability and is indeed a deep threat.
What about his catching ability?
The top 5 receivers last year regarding drops (not a list you want to be on). Or is it?
1.Wes Welker (174 targets)
2. Calvin Johnson (205 targets)
3. Brandon Marshall (194 targets)
4. Victor Cruz (143 targets)
5. Eric Decker (123 targets)
Elite players get more targets and with more targets comes more chances for dropped passes
Mike Wallace had 119 targets last year (a down year for him across the board) and does not crack anywhere near the top for drop rate. He also does not flaunt a top graded catch rate either, but in 2011 he had 4 drops ranking him 13th in the league for this category. Wallace may have hit his ceiling, but what Steeler fans seem to neglect is his age. He is 26 years old and has had great production in his first four seasons.
Some more notable stats from Mike Wallace
His 19.4 yards/reception in his rookie season was ranked 1st in the NFL
His mind boggling 21 yards/reception in 2010 was ranked 2nd in the NFL
In 2010 he ranked 5th in receiving yards with 1,257
What do you guys think we have in Wallace?