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SteelerNation1
07-19-2010, 09:04 PM
Wallace Won’t Be Facing Much New in 2010
Posted on July 19, 2010 by JJ
In another season, Mike Wallace would be considered the key to the 2010 Steelers’ hopes.

But in an offseason where Ben Roethlisberger has been slapped with a six-game suspension and Willie Colon has popped his Achilles’ tendon, all of a sudden Wallace’s development has taken a seat on the bench compared to the questions about quarterback and right tackle.

Even as the attention on Wallace has diminished, there is one piece of conventional wisdom that keeps cropping up. I’ve read it in multiple versions, but it always sounds something like this:

“But the Steelers will have to see how well Wallace does as a starter now that he will be going up against starting cornerbacks instead of nickel backs.”

Here’s the thing. That’s completely and utterly wrong.

You can worry about how well Wallace does as a second-year pro, and you can wonder if he’ll start getting a lot more double teams now that Santonio Holmes is a Jet. And it’s completely fair to question whether Wallace will be able to provide the consistency Holmes gave the Steelers as a true No. 1 receiver.

But it won’t be because Wallace is now facing starting corners. He faced them all last year.

I went back and logged every pass thrown to Wallace in 2009. There were 71 passes thrown Wallace’s way — he was being guarded by a starter on 60 of them. Nine of the passes (including his most notable game-winning catch against Green Bay) were thrown against backups while two of them were Hail Mary passes where it’s impossible to say which of the five defenders jumping for the ball were guarding Wallace.

Want more proof. Check out Wallace’s biggest plays from the 2009 season.


Week Opponent Yards Defender
9 Bengals 46 Jonathan Joseph
Not a catch, but a pass interference penalty called on Joseph. Wallace was also going against safety help on this play
14 Packers 60 Jarret Bush
Wallace runs by Bush for early first-quarter touchdown
16 Dolphins 54 Nate Jones
Wallace lines up inside of Holmes in rare formation. Beats Jones (and safety help) with pure speed
3 Bengals 51 Jonathan Joseph
Simple streak route, Wallace runs by Joseph catches ball then runs out of bounds
5 Lions 47 William James
Wallace gets past James on a post route for the touchdown
15 Ravens 45 Frank Walker
Game-changer as Wallace helps Steelers get out from own four-yard-line to midfield.
7 Vikings 40 Tyrell Johnson
Wallace goes against zone coverage, Johnson, a safety, is closest to Wallace at the time of the catch
4 Chargers 35 Steve Gregory
Roethlisberger has plenty of time, Wallace finds seam in zone coverage. Gregory is the closest defender.
10 Chiefs 33 Brandon Flowers
Wallace runs down sideline to beat Chiefs’ top cornerback, but then fumbles the ball after the catch.
Of his nine biggest plays last year, only one came against a backup cornerback while one other pass came against a starting safety. The easy explanation is that the Steelers’ formations ensured that Wallace faced starting cornerbacks. With very few exceptions, whenever Wallace entered the game, he lined up as an outside receiver, usually with Hines Ward lining up in the slot on Wallace’s side. Very, very few NFL teams have their corners follow a specific wide receiver all over the field, so usually what would happen is Wallace would face up against one of the opponent’s starting corners while the nickel or dime corner would line up against Ward in the slot.

When the Steelers went to their bunch formation with two receivers and tight end Heath Miller bunched together at the line, Wallace was usually on the outside with Ward lined up to his inside. In those cases, the starting corner was usually lined up on the outside as well, so unless Wallace ran a crossing route (which was rare) he ended up against a starting corner.

On the very rare occasions that Wallace was moved inside into the slot, it was almost always to try to get him a favorable matchup for a deep route. I counted four passes thrown Wallace’s way when he was lined up in the slot (remember that’s out of 71 passes). On all four of those passes, Wallace ran a deep route, three of them fell incomplete, but the fourth was a 54-yard touchdown against the Dolphins.

So if you wonder who may suffer by Holmes’ departure, you should probably worry more about Ward. Many of Ward’s third-down catches, and some of his first and second-down grabs, came when he was lined up inside against nickel and dime backs (and lots of linebackers in zone defenses). If Antwaan Randle-El is the Steelers’ No. 3 receiver, Pittsburgh will either have to move Ward back outside or split Randle-El out wide and ask him to do something he’s not particularly adept at doing – Randle El has six catches of 40-yards or more in his career (Wallace had six last season).

hawaiiansteel
07-19-2010, 09:24 PM
Mike Wallace is going to quiet all doubters with a breakout sophomore season.

http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Pittsburgh+Steelers+Training+Camp+USt60FOGTqvl.jpg

Sugar
07-19-2010, 09:37 PM
I would love it if Wallace could be all that. I'm not counting on it by any means, but I would really love it. A couple of the young guys we drafted look like they could be good too. With everyone talking about Pittsburgh's "recommitment to the run" it would be great if we could gash them with our WR's.

phillyesq
07-19-2010, 10:19 PM
Props to the author for all the research. I'd really like to see Wallace continue to develop and avoid a sophomore slump. I'm not at all worried about Ward - I'm sure he'll be fine.

Sanders is going to be an interesting wild card. If he can develop quickly, he could be a big asset on passing downs.

jj28west
07-20-2010, 05:27 AM
Wow,

This is good stuff. Completely not what I thought I saw last year.

Oviedo
07-20-2010, 07:43 AM
I would love it if Wallace could be all that. I'm not counting on it by any means, but I would really love it. A couple of the young guys we drafted look like they could be good too. With everyone talking about Pittsburgh's "recommitment to the run" it would be great if we could gash them with our WR's.


I agree. Wallace IMO will face more challenges this season. We will have to spread the ball more to the TE and RBs.

D Rock
07-20-2010, 09:08 AM
Unfortunately, outside of Jonathan Joseph and maaaayyybeee Brandon Flowers, none of those 'starting' corners listed are particularly great corners.

I am a HUGE Wallace fan, so I'm not trying to bring the guy down, but just thought that should be commented on. I still think he will excel. Speed can't be taught and getting open is getting open no matter who you do it against...those are still NFL players he beat consistently. Maybe he wont light it up every week, but who does really?

The thing I'd most like to see is his % of passes thrown vs passes caught increase a bit. We can't just go deep to him all the time and those medium range and crossing routes need to be developed and added to the arsenal to sustain drives. Too many misfires will kill drives if he is being targeted that much more just on the same types of routes.

phillyesq
07-20-2010, 09:18 AM
The thing I'd most like to see is his % of passes thrown vs passes caught increase a bit. We can't just go deep to him all the time and those medium range and crossing routes need to be developed and added to the arsenal to sustain drives. Too many misfires will kill drives if he is being targeted that much more just on the same types of routes.

He caught about 55% of the passes thrown his way last year, including the two hail mary's. Ben completed 2/3 of his passes, so this puts Wallace a bit below the average. However, since he was a deep threat, and not a possession receiver, I'd expect him to be below the average.

I'd be interested to see the percentage caught by the Steelers other WRs, as well as WRs throughout the league, both possession types and deep threat types like Wallace. And, of course, I'd have to see how his catch % compares to Nate Washington. :stirpot

SteelerNation1
07-20-2010, 09:31 AM
Sorry. Forgot to post the website.
http://www.steelerslounge.com/

fezziwig
07-20-2010, 09:32 AM
From what I remember Wallace out runs Bens arm or Ben doesn't have the arm to keep up with Wallace.

I have little faith in our OC, our OL and that Ben will be out a minimum of four games. I hope our defense can keep the team afloat because with the lack of Smokey, Hines getting older, the offensive line with it's curse I, see us having one heck of a lousy year.

tomorrow I may feel the exact opposite but thats just me.

RuthlessBurgher
07-20-2010, 09:40 AM
Unfortunately, outside of Jonathan Joseph and maaaayyybeee Brandon Flowers, none of those 'starting' corners listed are particularly great corners.

I am a HUGE Wallace fan, so I'm not trying to bring the guy down, but just thought that should be commented on. I still think he will excel. Speed can't be taught and getting open is getting open no matter who you do it against...those are still NFL players he beat consistently. Maybe he wont light it up every week, but who does really?

The thing I'd most like to see is his % of passes thrown vs passes caught increase a bit. We can't just go deep to him all the time and those medium range and crossing routes need to be developed and added to the arsenal to sustain drives. Too many misfires will kill drives if he is being targeted that much more just on the same types of routes.

In terms of catches per target, Hines Ward is a top 6 guy in the league at 70.9%, behind only Wes Welker's 78.3%, Mike Thomas' 77.4%, Kevin Walter's 74.6%, David Anderson's 74.5%, and Robert Meachem's 71.4%. The guys who are best at this stat tend to be possession receivers, not big play guys, so I'm not surprised to see Mike Wallace's name near the top of this list.

However, Wallace was in the top 10 in the NFL in terms of his catch percentage (He had 39 catches and only 1 drop last year, so his Catch% would be 97.5). Greg Camarillo had 50 catches without a drop and Kelley Washington had 34 catches without a drop to lead the league with a catch percentage of 100%. There were 7 other guys with only 1 drop who had more catches than Wallace and therefore a better percentage (Vincent Jackson had 68 catches and 1 drop for 98.6%, Mike Sims-Walker had 63 catches and 1 drop for 98.4%, Jerricho Cotchery had 57 catches and 1 drop for 98.3%, Jeremy Maclin had 56 catches and 1 drop for 98.2%, Steve Breaston had 55 catches and 1 drop for 98.2%, Mike Thomas had 48 catches and 1 drop for 98%, and Robert Meachem had 45 catches and 1 drop for 97.8%).

On the other hand, the guy Wallace replaced, Nate Washington, had 47 catches and 8 drops last year. That puts him in the bottom 10 of the NFL in that category (catch percentage of 85.5%). There were only 8 guys worse than that (Bryant Johnson had 35 catches and 8 drops for 81.4%, Bobby Wade had 36 catches and 8 drops for 81.8%, James Jones had 32 catches and 7 drops for 82.1%, Dwyane Bowe had 47 catches and 10 drops for 82.5%, Roy Williams had 38 catches and 8 drops for 82.6%, Ted Ginn had 38 catches and 7 drops for 84.4%, Terrell Owens had 55 catches and 10 drops for 84.6%, and Louis Murphy had 34 catches and 6 drops for 85%).

Other relevant Steeler stats from this advanced stats page, Mike Wallace was 7th in the NFL in Yards Per Target (10.4) and he was also 3rd in the NFL in Air Yard Percentage (82.5%), which is a metric which attempts to establish who is a downfield threat. In other non-Mike-Wallace news, Heath Miller was tied with Randy Moss and Brandon Marshall for the 4th most targets in the NFL inside the opponent's 10 yard line (12), Rashard Mendenhall had the 9th most yards after contact (717), and Ben Roethlisberger had the 9th most adjusted net yards per attempt (7.1).

http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=nfldk2k10advancedstats

cruzer8
07-20-2010, 10:24 AM
From what I remember Wallace out runs Bens arm or Ben doesn't have the arm to keep up with Wallace.

I have little faith in our OC, our OL and that Ben will be out a minimum of four games. I hope our defense can keep the team afloat because with the lack of Smokey, Hines getting older, the offensive line with it's curse I, see us having one heck of a lousy year.

tomorrow I may feel the exact opposite but thats just me.

It is neither of those. It's a timing issue and reports out of OTAs were that Ben and Wallace had the timing down and Ben was consistently hitting Wallace deep while in stride.

feltdizz
07-20-2010, 11:14 AM
I think the writer made some great points as far as Wallace seeing starting DB coverage. However Holmes got most of the attention is what helped Wallace have a break out year. This was part of the reason Holmes was seen as a disappearing act in the regular season. The guy was a threat after the catch.

The question is still legit. How will Wallace fair as our primary weapon? Can he catch the ball underneath coverage and get yards after the catch. Can he sheild defenders and make the catch underneath?

Shawn
07-20-2010, 11:46 AM
Unfortunately, outside of Jonathan Joseph and maaaayyybeee Brandon Flowers, none of those 'starting' corners listed are particularly great corners.

I am a HUGE Wallace fan, so I'm not trying to bring the guy down, but just thought that should be commented on. I still think he will excel. Speed can't be taught and getting open is getting open no matter who you do it against...those are still NFL players he beat consistently. Maybe he wont light it up every week, but who does really?

The thing I'd most like to see is his % of passes thrown vs passes caught increase a bit. We can't just go deep to him all the time and those medium range and crossing routes need to be developed and added to the arsenal to sustain drives. Too many misfires will kill drives if he is being targeted that much more just on the same types of routes.


Agreed...Wallace should see most teams #1 DB this season. A banged up geriatric Ward hobbling around on two slow to heal hammies won't scare anyone. While the author is correct about him seeing starters...he seen some really crappy starters. I fully suspect Wallace will not only see other teams #1 DB but he will see safety help as well. Without Ben there for the first 4 games I wouldn't be shocked if Wallace was fairly quiet this season. But, as we know with Burress you can't always measure the value of a WR by his numbers.

Shawn
07-20-2010, 11:49 AM
I think the writer made some great points as far as Wallace seeing starting DB coverage. However Holmes got most of the attention is what helped Wallace have a break out year. This was part of the reason Holmes was seen as a disappearing act in the regular season. The guy was a threat after the catch.

The question is still legit. How will Wallace fair as our primary weapon? Can he catch the ball underneath coverage and get yards after the catch. Can he sheild defenders and make the catch underneath?

Do you see those twigs he calls legs? I'm not sure I wan't him catching anything underneath or across the middle.

cruzer8
07-20-2010, 12:01 PM
Unfortunately, outside of Jonathan Joseph and maaaayyybeee Brandon Flowers, none of those 'starting' corners listed are particularly great corners.

I am a HUGE Wallace fan, so I'm not trying to bring the guy down, but just thought that should be commented on. I still think he will excel. Speed can't be taught and getting open is getting open no matter who you do it against...those are still NFL players he beat consistently. Maybe he wont light it up every week, but who does really?

The thing I'd most like to see is his % of passes thrown vs passes caught increase a bit. We can't just go deep to him all the time and those medium range and crossing routes need to be developed and added to the arsenal to sustain drives. Too many misfires will kill drives if he is being targeted that much more just on the same types of routes.


Agreed...Wallace should see most teams #1 DB this season. A banged up geriatric Ward hobbling around on two slow to heal hammies won't scare anyone. While the author is correct about him seeing starters...he seen some really crappy starters. I fully suspect Wallace will not only see other teams #1 DB but he will see safety help as well. Without Ben there for the first 4 games I wouldn't be shocked if Wallace was fairly quiet this season. But, as we know with Burress you can't always measure the value of a WR by his numbers.

Pick your poison. Double cover Wallace and you leave Ward, ARE and Miller in single coverage. Those guys know how to get open. I'll take it!

SteelerNation1
07-20-2010, 12:55 PM
The key in 2010 for Wallace is going to be his ability to get open on slightly better CBs. Do I expect him to avg 19.4 YPC again? No. If he can turn in a 65 rec 900 yrds 6 TD season (that's 13.8 YPC), I think we will be fine. I expect a rise in receptions from both Heath and Mendy. Hines hopefully will be Hines also.

RuthlessBurgher
07-20-2010, 01:32 PM
I think the writer made some great points as far as Wallace seeing starting DB coverage. However Holmes got most of the attention is what helped Wallace have a break out year. This was part of the reason Holmes was seen as a disappearing act in the regular season. The guy was a threat after the catch.

The question is still legit. How will Wallace fair as our primary weapon? Can he catch the ball underneath coverage and get yards after the catch. Can he sheild defenders and make the catch underneath?

Do you see those twigs he calls legs? I'm not sure I wan't him catching anything underneath or across the middle.

Are Wallace's legs all that different than Santonio's?

http://sportschump.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/mike-wallace-catch-pittsburgh-steelers.jpg

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Sport/Pix/pictures/2009/2/2/1233546934759/Santnio-Holmes-makes-the--001.jpg

Shawn
07-20-2010, 01:52 PM
Unfortunately, outside of Jonathan Joseph and maaaayyybeee Brandon Flowers, none of those 'starting' corners listed are particularly great corners.

I am a HUGE Wallace fan, so I'm not trying to bring the guy down, but just thought that should be commented on. I still think he will excel. Speed can't be taught and getting open is getting open no matter who you do it against...those are still NFL players he beat consistently. Maybe he wont light it up every week, but who does really?

The thing I'd most like to see is his % of passes thrown vs passes caught increase a bit. We can't just go deep to him all the time and those medium range and crossing routes need to be developed and added to the arsenal to sustain drives. Too many misfires will kill drives if he is being targeted that much more just on the same types of routes.


Agreed...Wallace should see most teams #1 DB this season. A banged up geriatric Ward hobbling around on two slow to heal hammies won't scare anyone. While the author is correct about him seeing starters...he seen some really crappy starters. I fully suspect Wallace will not only see other teams #1 DB but he will see safety help as well. Without Ben there for the first 4 games I wouldn't be shocked if Wallace was fairly quiet this season. But, as we know with Burress you can't always measure the value of a WR by his numbers.

Pick your poison. Double cover Wallace and you leave Ward, ARE and Miller in single coverage. Those guys know how to get open. I'll take it!

Ehh...depends on the defense called. That is not always the case. If you are looking at a defense with a mixture of man and zone coverage then it's possible to double cover two receivers depending on the route. For instance a basic cover two man has the safeties playing zone deep and everyone else in man.

With that said, I understand your point. I guess the bigger question would be can Ward stay healthy this season. If he can, he could have another 1000 yard season because I think Wallace will see the same coverage applied to Holmes last season. I don't believe any team believes they need to double cover Miller. Miller is a very good TE but he isn't a back breaker.

Shawn
07-20-2010, 01:55 PM
The key in 2010 for Wallace is going to be his ability to get open on slightly better CBs. Do I expect him to avg 19.4 YPC again? No. If he can turn in a 65 rec 900 yrds 6 TD season (that's 13.8 YPC), I think we will be fine. I expect a rise in receptions from both Heath and Mendy. Hines hopefully will be Hines also.

And those are the type of numbers I expect from him this season. Holmes presence was HUGE for Wallace last season. I also believe the presence of both Wallace and Holmes contributed to the very nice 4.6 ypc from Mendenhall. When you can freeze both safeties it enhances the run game significantly.

The loss of Holmes was bigger than many have acknowledged. With that said, we still have weapons but we will need to be more creative.

Shawn
07-20-2010, 01:57 PM
I think the writer made some great points as far as Wallace seeing starting DB coverage. However Holmes got most of the attention is what helped Wallace have a break out year. This was part of the reason Holmes was seen as a disappearing act in the regular season. The guy was a threat after the catch.

The question is still legit. How will Wallace fair as our primary weapon? Can he catch the ball underneath coverage and get yards after the catch. Can he sheild defenders and make the catch underneath?

Do you see those twigs he calls legs? I'm not sure I wan't him catching anything underneath or across the middle.

Are Wallace's legs all that different than Santonio's?

http://sportschump.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/mike-wallace-catch-pittsburgh-steelers.jpg

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Sport/Pix/pictures/2009/2/2/1233546934759/Santnio-Holmes-makes-the--001.jpg


I was being a bit playful. But, I must admit I am curious about his ability to take a hit across the middle or from a LBr underneath. I guess we will find out this season.

MeetJoeGreene
07-20-2010, 02:01 PM
The key in 2010 for Wallace is going to be his ability to get open on slightly better CBs. Do I expect him to avg 19.4 YPC again? No. If he can turn in a 65 rec 900 yrds 6 TD season (that's 13.8 YPC), I think we will be fine. I expect a rise in receptions from both Heath and Mendy. Hines hopefully will be Hines also.

And those are the type of numbers I expect from him this season. Holmes presence was HUGE for Wallace last season. I also believe the presence of both Wallace and Holmes contributed to the very nice 4.6 ypc from Mendenhall. When you can freeze both safeties it enhances the run game significantly.

The loss of Holmes was bigger than many have acknowledged. With that said, we still have weapons but we will need to be more creative.

Oh no. I don't like thinking about creative and Arians in the same sentence.

What I really hope is that one of our rookie WR is as big of a surprise as Wallace was....

cruzer8
07-20-2010, 02:50 PM
Unfortunately, outside of Jonathan Joseph and maaaayyybeee Brandon Flowers, none of those 'starting' corners listed are particularly great corners.

I am a HUGE Wallace fan, so I'm not trying to bring the guy down, but just thought that should be commented on. I still think he will excel. Speed can't be taught and getting open is getting open no matter who you do it against...those are still NFL players he beat consistently. Maybe he wont light it up every week, but who does really?

The thing I'd most like to see is his % of passes thrown vs passes caught increase a bit. We can't just go deep to him all the time and those medium range and crossing routes need to be developed and added to the arsenal to sustain drives. Too many misfires will kill drives if he is being targeted that much more just on the same types of routes.


Agreed...Wallace should see most teams #1 DB this season. A banged up geriatric Ward hobbling around on two slow to heal hammies won't scare anyone. While the author is correct about him seeing starters...he seen some really crappy starters. I fully suspect Wallace will not only see other teams #1 DB but he will see safety help as well. Without Ben there for the first 4 games I wouldn't be shocked if Wallace was fairly quiet this season. But, as we know with Burress you can't always measure the value of a WR by his numbers.

Pick your poison. Double cover Wallace and you leave Ward, ARE and Miller in single coverage. Those guys know how to get open. I'll take it!

Ehh...depends on the defense called. That is not always the case. If you are looking at a defense with a mixture of man and zone coverage then it's possible to double cover two receivers depending on the route. For instance a basic cover two man has the safeties playing zone deep and everyone else in man.

With that said, I understand your point. I guess the bigger question would be can Ward stay healthy this season. If he can, he could have another 1000 yard season because I think Wallace will see the same coverage applied to Holmes last season. I don't believe any team believes they need to double cover Miller. Miller is a very good TE but he isn't a back breaker.

The point is that we have at least 3 guys who KNOW how to get open. So if they are single covered the odds are with us that they find the openings. That's good for us.

RuthlessBurgher
07-24-2010, 02:24 PM
Mike Wallace was ranked the #1 prospect in the NFL by Football Outsiders

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/insider/news/story?id=5374109&addata=2009_insdr_mod_nfl_xxx_xxx&&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fnfl %2finsider%2fnews%2fstory%3fid%3d5374109%26addata% 3d2009_insdr_mod_nfl_xxx_xxx


Ranking 2010 NFL prospects: Nos. 1-10
Mike Wallace, Shonn Greene and Tashard Choice should all shine this year

Originally Published: July 14, 2010

By Bill Barnwell
Football Outsiders



Sports fans are plenty familiar with the idea of a top prospects list. The lists, compiled by prospect mavens in baseball, are useful because they highlight talent that most fans aren't yet aware of. In football, though, top prospects are superstars before they ever play a pro down because of the national exposure enjoyed by college football. In addition, while the vast majority of baseball players have a minor league career before jumping to the big leagues, top NFL picks are expected to contribute from Day One.



So a list considering players like Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh "prospects" would be a waste of everyone's time, and a list that includes players like Jake Locker and Gabe Carimi is already taken care of by our compatriots Todd McShay and Mel Kiper. Instead, Football Outsiders chose to focus our Top 25 Prospects list on players who are already in the NFL but haven't yet become starters and don't have the pedigree of being a high draft pick. The rules for making our Top 25 Prospects list state that players must meet these criteria:




• Be in the second, third or fourth year of their pro career
• Have been drafted in Rounds 3 to 7 or signed as an undrafted free agent
• Have started fewer than five career games in the NFL
• Still on their rookie contract




The resulting list focuses on players who have performed well in a limited amount of time as an ancillary player or an injury replacement. To rate players, we use our advanced statistics like DVOA (explained here), but we also include our college projection statistics and a healthy dollop of scouting reports and consideration of each player's upside.



Of course, compiling a list is irrelevant unless it actually does a good job of identifying breakout players. That's where our 2009 Top Prospects list comes in. No. 1 on our list was a Dallas Cowboys wideout who had repeatedly posted fantastic DVOA figures in limited time but had 18 career catches and sat fourth on the team's depth chart. Although we noted that he had Pro Bowl potential if he could ever get his hamstrings right, not even we expected that the player in question -- Miles Austin -- would be a Pro Bowler that very season.



Austin wasn't the only player who unexpectedly emerged from our list. Jerome Harrison (No. 6) nearly ran for 300 yards in Week 14 for the Cleveland Browns and had 561 yards over the final three games of the year. Jamaal Charles (No. 13) was right alongside Chris Johnson as the league's best running back over the second half of the season, running for 968 yards from Week 10 on. Players like Josh Sitton, Pierre Garcon, Cliff Avril, Josh Morgan, Michael Bush and Zack Bowman also emerged as valuable players for their teams.



On the other hand, this isn't a foolproof list: Martin Rucker (No. 19) and Chauncey Washington (No. 21) were cut by their teams in training camp, while Harry Douglas (No. 11) tore his ACL in camp and William Gay (No. 5) had a disappointing debut season as a starter. Because so many players emerged from last year's list as NFL starters, this year's group is mostly new; only three of the players on the 2010 Top 25 Prospects list were on the list a year ago.



Today, we're going from No. 10 down to No. 1; Tuesday we did No. 25 down to No. 11. Our No. 1 prospect this year is another wide receiver, one with huge shoes to fill both on this list and in his own organization. Following a Pro Bowl season by a guy like Austin is tough enough, but our No. 1 prospect will have to replace a Super Bowl MVP -- without his usual starting quarterback for the first four to six weeks of the year.



10. Gary Barnidge, TE, Carolina Panthers
For seven years now, the Panthers have failed to find a pass-catcher at tight end who could follow in the footsteps of the retired Wesley Walls. Kris Mangum couldn't run. Jermaine Wiggins went from eight catches in 2003 as a Panther to 71 in 2004 as a Viking. Mike Seidman and Michael Gaines never developed. Dante Rosario only teases, and Jeff King is a blocker first, second and third. Barnidge, a fifth-round pick out of Louisville in 2008, is the guy they've been waiting for. He has the speed to effectively run up the seam and take out the Cover 2. He also has the hands to hold onto the ball when Darren Sharper hits him or LaRon Landry breezes past him. He's the Panthers' second-best receiver. Once Carolina realizes it, Barnidge immediately becomes a sleeper tight end for fantasy purposes.




9. Justin Forsett, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Given a chance to carry the ball last year while Rome burned around him, Forsett put up an 18.2 percent DVOA, fourth-best among qualifying backs. The DVOA of the other Seattle backs wasn't as pretty: Julius Jones was at minus-6.2 percent, and the remains of what used to be Edgerrin James mustered a whopping minus-30.2 percent. Forsett was also the team's best receiver out of the backfield. With investments along the offensive line and a guaranteed lack of Seneca Wallace at quarterback, Forsett should remain one of the league's most efficient and quietly effective backs in 2010. Professionals personnel note: Seahawks GM Tim Ruskell tried to give Forsett away, waiving him after selecting him in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft but got Forsett back after the Colts picked him up and couldn't find him a consistent roster spot.





8. Early Doucet, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Kurt Warner may be gone, but the Cardinals still have Larry Fitzgerald on one side of the field, and Anquan Boldin's been dealt to Baltimore. That means plenty of opportunities for the receivers on the other side of the field. While Steve Breaston gets more hype, Doucet's the guy who's more likely to fill in as Boldin's long-term replacement. While Breaston's skill set is built around his speed and deception, Doucet has the attributes you think of when it comes to Boldin: Good hands, strong enough to break the jam at the line of scrimmage, excellent blocking in the run game and fearless heading over the middle. He's even got the negative attributes people applied to Boldin: small hands and a history of injuries. The Cardinals are moving towards a more balanced attack. Replacing Warner with Matt Leinart is a negative, but Doucet should make some noise as a very effective second banana to Fitzgerald.



7. Jonathan Goff, LB, New York Giants
It takes a lot to follow Antonio Pierce, who helped lead the Giants' defense to a Super Bowl. It says a lot, though, that the Giants let Pierce go and then passed on options in the draft and free agency to give Goff, a fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt in 2008, a clear path to the starting Mike gig. He profiles as a better run-stopper than Pierce was, and while he's nowhere near as experienced when it comes to reading quarterbacks, he's faster than Pierce, which should help in coverage. With the Giants' move to the Tampa 2, Goff will assume the role played by guys like Barrett Ruud and Gary Brackett. He has great potential as an IDP linebacker and should help the Giants back towards the top of the defensive charts.



6. Orlando Scandrick, CB, Dallas Cowboys
Two years ago, Scandrick grossly outplayed Mike Jenkins despite being taken several rounds after him in the 2008 NFL Draft. Last year, Jenkins broke out and had a Pro Bowl season, but Scandrick held his own as one of the league's best slot corners for a second consecutive season. He had the best Success Rate (explained here) of any Cowboys cornerback, finishing 12th in the league at 59 percent. Scandrick isn't about to break into the starting lineup, but he's extremely effective in his role. With the league-wide trend towards passing, that role gets more and more important with each year.



5. Justin Tryon, CB, Washington Redskins
It's hard to make much of an impact in the Washington secondary. Over the past few years, no team has dedicated more resources to the defensive backfield -- both draft picks and free agent cash -- than the Redskins. Yet, while DeAngelo Hall allows countless completions and LaRon Landry overruns play after play, the team unearthed a bona fide starting corner in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. Tryon only started two games during his second year in the league, but he played like he belonged in the Millionaires' Club. According to the Football Outsiders game charting project, Tryon allowed 5.8 adjusted yards per attempt, nearly a half-yard better than any other Redskins corner. Despite spending time in the slot, Tryon didn't allow receivers to get open deep; passes at him were only thrown an average of 7.8 yards away from the line of scrimmage, the lowest figure -- by far -- among Redskins corners. He took Fred Smoot's job away during the year, and while he has to beat out Phillip Buchanon for the nickel job in camp (spoiler: he will), he may have Carlos Rogers' starting job in his back pocket by the end of the season.




4. Tashard Choice, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Choice is the best halfback the Cowboys have. He lacks the speed of Felix Jones or the raw power of Marion Barber, but as a football player, Choice is the guy we'd want. He's got the best vision of the three backs, and he does a better job of squirming through the hole for extra yards than either Barber or Jones. Where Choice really sets himself apart, though, is in the passing game. He's a better blocker than his two compatriots, and he put up a 23.0 percent DVOA rating as a receiver when Jones was at minus-13.1 percent and Barber couldn't get past minus-9.7 percent. Choice has none of the injury issues that have followed Barber or Jones. He's third on the depth chart because he doesn't have to justify a big contract or a first-round pick, but the second he gets the chance to be a starting back, he's going to be something really special. If we were sure that was going to be in 2010, he might have been at the top of the list.



3. Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
Greene's no secret, of course. After Leon Washington broke his leg against the Oakland Raiders in Week 7, Greene entered the Jets' rotation at halfback and became an instant contributor. And when we say instant, we mean it in a literal sense; Greene gained 144 yards on the ground in that game over the final three quarters. He was impressive the rest of the way, but he really turned things on in the playoffs, where he became the Jets' primary back until suffering an injury in the AFC Championship Game. He will retain that role with the departure of Washington and Thomas Jones this offseason. While the Jets are unlikely to be as effective running the ball on a per-play basis in 2010, the increase in Greene's usage rate should be plenty enough to push him past 1,000 rushing yards.



2. Jacob Ford, DE, Tennessee Titans
Placed in the second spot on this list a year ago, Ford held serve in 2009. He didn't see an increase in his playing time; in fact, he didn't start a game after getting three starts in 2008. He still showed signs of being a terrifying pass rusher, though, picking up 5.5 sacks, eight hits and 10 hurries as a situational pass rusher. Despite seeing far less time, Ford had as many Defeats -- plays which stop the opposition from getting a first down on third or fourth down, stops behind the line of scrimmage or forcing a fumble or interception -- as starter Kyle Vanden Bosch (13). Vanden Bosch has gone to Detroit, which opens up a spot on the defensive line. Ford's still a work in progress against the run, which may prevent him from claiming the starting job, but it's impossible to keep him off opposing quarterbacks. By the end of the year, we figure that Ford will be the man in Tennessee.



1. Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
What Wallace did a on a per-play basis last year as a rookie was pretty remarkable. He led the league in yards per catch (19.4) and finished fourth in DVOA (29.6 percent) among qualifying receivers. Wallace finished 16th in DYAR, our advanced metric measuring total value, despite being thrown only 72 passes. The only other receivers in the top 25 with fewer targets were Robert Meachem and Kevin Walter. And yet, there are still places we can expect him to go in 2010, even with Ben Roethlisberger suspended for the beginning of the season. His 54 percent catch rate was nice for a rookie, but low considering the offense he was in; he should be closer to 60 percent next year. He only averaged 3.4 YAC despite running routes as deep as anyone in football, and that should improve. The departure of Santonio Holmes and the injury to Limas Sweed virtually guarantee him 30 more targets than he had as a rookie. The list of players that averaged more than 18 yards per catch as a rookie with more than 30 receptions includes quite a few stars with similar stat lines to Wallace's rookie year, including Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice. Wallace isn't in their category, but he's almost a sure thing to be a valuable starter. He has a fair amount of potential as a franchise player going forward.



Bill Barnwell is an author of Football Outsiders who frequently contributes to ESPN Insider. You can find his ESPN.com online archives here.

jj28west
07-24-2010, 07:01 PM
Ruthless,

Good stuff. Thanks for posting the Wallace stats and article. I just hope this guy doesnt snap from the mental pressure and expectations this year or we could be in for a long season IMO. I still think a lot is riding on this kid now that Santonio is gone.

fordfixer
07-25-2010, 11:18 PM
Sorry. Forgot to post the website.
http://www.steelerslounge.com/


Rookie :roll: :lol: :lol:

Shoe
07-26-2010, 02:29 PM
Great research SteelerNation1.

SteelerNation1
07-26-2010, 02:56 PM
Sorry. Forgot to post the website.
http://www.steelerslounge.com/


Rookie :roll: :lol: :lol:
I believe the board calls me a pro bowler! :moon :moon :moon

SteelerNation1
07-26-2010, 02:57 PM
Great research SteelerNation1.
Shoe, I didn't do the research. steelerslounge.com did. Thanks anyway though.

Oviedo
07-26-2010, 04:01 PM
The key in 2010 for Wallace is going to be his ability to get open on slightly better CBs. Do I expect him to avg 19.4 YPC again? No. If he can turn in a 65 rec 900 yrds 6 TD season (that's 13.8 YPC), I think we will be fine. I expect a rise in receptions from both Heath and Mendy. Hines hopefully will be Hines also.

And those are the type of numbers I expect from him this season. Holmes presence was HUGE for Wallace last season. I also believe the presence of both Wallace and Holmes contributed to the very nice 4.6 ypc from Mendenhall. When you can freeze both safeties it enhances the run game significantly.

The loss of Holmes was bigger than many have acknowledged. With that said, we still have weapons but we will need to be more creative.

Oh no. I don't like thinking about creative and Arians in the same sentence.

What I really hope is that one of our rookie WR is as big of a surprise as Wallace was....

Not sure where the creativity problem is greatest...with our O Coord or our D Coord. Defense seemed to only be creative in losing last year it seems and they are coached by a genius.

fordfixer
07-26-2010, 09:40 PM
Sorry. Forgot to post the website.
http://www.steelerslounge.com/


Rookie :roll: :lol: :lol:
I believe the board calls me a pro bowler! :moon :moon :moon


Sorry my mistake :lol: :lol: :tt1