If you were to ask me to describe the makings of a perfect receiver in the NFL, the images of Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Calvin Johnson would certainly come to mind first. But the blistering speed and talent of Mike Wallace is turning heads in the league, and Wallace is proving he certainly should be mentioned with the elite receivers in the NFL.
While I would still give Fitzgerald and the two Johnsons the nod as the most dominant receivers in the league, Wallace could now be considered the most “dangerous” receiver in the league. When Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt was asked about Wallace’s 95-yard touchdown catch, he said the Cardinals fully anticipated that throw coming and could do nothing to stop it. Is there anything more telling of a player’s talent than when the opposing coach says we knew what was coming and we couldn’t stop it?
Wallace is setting an unbelievable statistical pace this season amassing 36 receptions for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns…… just sevens games into the season. At more than 20-yards-per-catch on the season, Wallace is a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.
Another thing that impresses me about Wallace is his ability to lead at such a young age. I know the team still has Hines Ward in the locker room acting almost as a player/coach to the Steelers young receiving corps, but I have noticed that Wallace, who is only in his third season out of Ole Miss. has stepped up as a leader as well. After his 95-yard touchdown grab, Wallace did not go overboard on the celebration like most receivers would, he went back to the sideline and could be seen talking with Roethlisberger about how the duo could get the Cardinals the next time out on the field. Wallace is savvy with the media, and never takes an opportunity to knock another player on the team. In fact, any interview I have ever heard from Wallace praises the efforts of his teammates no matter what. That is the leadership you want from your most explosive offensive player, and with so many young talented receivers climbing the ranks in the Steelers organization, I think Wallace is the perfect man to set the precedent of the new age of Steelers football.
I am really impressed with the way Wallace is playing in the early stages of his career; not just as a player but also as a leader. For all the people that were clamoring for Plaxico to come back to the Burgh because “we needed a tall deep threat to stretch the field,” and I was one of those people myself, Wallace has proven that he is more than capable of being the Steelers No. 1 receiver for the distant future.