2021 NFL draft prospects: Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace

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Eric Edholm
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Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)
Eric Edholm's criteria for grading NFL draft prospects. (Albert Corona/Yahoo Sports)

Oklahoma State WR Tylan Wallace

5-foot-11, 193 pounds

Yahoo Sports draft grade: 5.81 — potential starter

TL;DR scouting report: Vertical threat with great competitiveness and video-game production, albeit in a narrow role feasting on bad Big 12 defenses

Games watched: Tulsa (2020), Iowa State (2020), Texas Tech (2020), TCU (2020)

The skinny: A 4-star Rivals recruit (No. 148 nationally), Wallace signed with the Cowboys and his twin brother, Tracin. Tylan caught seven passes for 118 yards in 13 games as a true freshman amid a deep receivers room in 2017. He really broke out in 2018, catching 86 passes for 1,491 yards (second in FBS) and 12 TDs, earning first-team all-Big 12 and second-team All-America mention. In 2019, Wallace caught 53 passes for 903 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games before suffering a torn ACL. He came back strong in 2020 with 59 receptions for 922 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games. In the bowl game against Miami, Wallace caught six passes for 45 yards in the first half and then sat out the second half — a pre-planned move to limit his injury risk before heading to the Senior Bowl.

Upside: Dangerous deep threat who can turn the jets on. Caught 38 passes of 20-plus air yards over the past three seasons for a combined 1,353 yards and 11 TDs. Strong production for three years once he earned a featured role — averaged 107 yards per game since 2018 and scored 27 TDs in those 31 games.

Looked plenty explosive and dynamic following a torn ACL in 2019 — and will be another year removed from injury as an NFL rookie. Track background shows up in his vertical acceleration. Explosive movement skills and great leaping ability at the catch point.

Plays bigger than his size. Competes with a fiery attitude. Strong hands. Tons of contested catches. Jumping ability, timing and elite desire — a tough combination for DBs to stop. Makes big plays in big moments.

STILLWATER, OK - OCTOBER 24:  Wide receiver Tylan Wallace #2 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys fails to make a pass reception in the end zone against defensive back Anthony Johnson Jr. #26 of the Iowa State Cyclones in the first quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium on October 24, 2020 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Oklahoma State wide receiver Tylan Wallace has been one of the best vertical threats in college football since 2018. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Runs clean routes. Carves off his routes with suddenness and doesn’t gear down at the top of his routes. Maintains balance and will work back to his quarterback to offer a good target. Adjusts to off-target throws pretty well. Will use a hesitation move to sell the stutter-go route.

Downside: A bit of a one-trick pony. Played predominantly on the right side of the field in an Air Raid system with a slimmed-down route tree. Played about 10 percent of his snaps in the slot. Has a smaller frame for an outside receiver — close to maxed-out frame and short arms.

Got bodied in press coverage and could get bumped off his routes, even by relatively small corners. Plays too light on his feet at times and must be more wary of subtle downfield contact. Didn’t see a ton of press coverage outside. Big corners can have their way with him.

Fast for college but might not have that extra gear to consistently take the tops off of NFL defenses. Short-area quickness is good but not what you’d expect of a receiver of his dimensions. Feasted on Big 12 defenses.

Let a few catchable balls slip through his grasp — some concentration drops, some where he didn’t get his hands out in front. Will mistime some jumps and lose positioning. Can do a better job of exploding out of routes on short and intermediate stuff.

Not a ton of special teams value. Was used sparingly as a punt returner early in his OSU career.

Best-suited destination: Wallace might be best suited as a WR3 in a vertical offense where he can stress defenses deep. Some teams will want to try him inside because of his smaller frame, but his best moments have come outside the numbers pushing vertically and working back to the ball if needed.

Did you know: His brother Tracin suffered three torn ACLs at OSU, which led him to medically retire from football in June of 2019.

Player comp: We get some Nelson Agholor vibes from Wallace, who could be slow to adjust to a complex NFL offense but should display some juice in time.

Expected draft range: Round 3