Oklahoma State football: Tylan Wallace still proving health isn't a question for NFL Draft
STILLWATER — Tylan Wallace remained at Oklahoma State for his senior season to prove his surgically reconstructed knee was healthy.
The star receiver checked that box over and over again to satisfy even the most skeptical.
But if anyone was still wondering about Wallace’s right knee — the one that sustained a torn ACL in 2019 — he offered yet another piece of proof last week when he ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at pro day for Exos, an athlete training organization that held an NFL combine-style event at a Dallas-area facility.
The biggest obstacle working against Wallace in next month’s NFL Draft is the depth of the receiver position overall.
ESPN draft specialist Mel Kiper Jr. projected five receivers to be picked in the first round in his latest mock draft.
“There’s a lot of good receivers in this draft,” Kiper said in a conference call earlier this week. “I like the wide receiver position a lot. It’s the strongest position overall in this draft.”
Wallace is in that mix among the depth as a potential second-round choice in the draft, which is set to be held April 29-May 1.
Wallace finished his senior season with 922 yards and six touchdowns on 59 receptions in 10 games, showing no signs of lingering pain or slowness from the injury.
“To come back from the injury… the way he played, the way he competes, and the fact that he went out and played in that bowl game showed me a lot.
“I think he could go second or third round very easily.”
Of course, the top spots at receiver are held down by elite players like DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle from Alabama, and Ja'Marr Chase from LSU. Kiper projects all three to be selected among the first 11 picks.
The running back position is quite different. Kiper and many experts expect the first round to pass without a running back selected.
That’s bad news for Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, who stayed for his junior season to try and improve his draft stock, but instead saw it go the other direction.
Kiper rates him as the ninth-best running back in the draft. The devaluation of running backs — with the exception of the most elite prospects — has spread through the NFL thanks to the success of late-round picks and undrafted free agents at the position.
“The style of running, he is very patient, he does have that burst. A little upright,” Kiper said of Hubbard, who had 625 yards in seven games a year after leading the nation in rushing with 2,094 yards. “As the ninth running back on the board, that’s probably gonna put him in the fourth-, fifth-round area.
“All these running backs are gonna go a round later than their rating indicates, because they all drop. Most of the top guys are gonna be second- or third-rounders. So that’s gonna allow Hubbard to drop down a round later than he should have. I’d say he gets into Day 3, and at that point, he’s worth a roll of the dice for a running back that’s got a lot of talent.”
Scott Wright covers OSU athletics, especially football. You can send your story ideas to him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @ScottWrightOK. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.