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2024 NFL Draft

LSU WR Malik Nabers Earns Mike Wallace Comparison

Mike Wallace used to terrorize defenses over the top, and one analyst thinks Malik Nabers a lot like him.



Pittsburgh Steelers WR Malik Nabers
LSU WR Malik Nabers in a game against the Arkansas Razorbacks - Gus Stark / LSU Athletics

The Pittsburgh Steelers have landed a few true deep threats over the years, but none were as terrorizing with his blazing speed as Mike Wallace. With his connection to Ben Roethlisberger, Wallace became one of the premier deep threats in all of football. And with a loaded wide receiver class in the 2024 NFL Draft, one of the top receivers in the class earned a comparison to the explosive receiver.

Popular YouTuber Brett Kollman, who co-hosts the Bootleg Football Podcast, compared LSU wide receiver Malik Nabers to Wallace.

Nabers is expected to test off the charts, and his film shows why he will test like a freak. He has easy, instant acceleration off the line of scrimmage paired with elite short-area burst. That is the same athleticism that made Wallace a dangerous player. It was not just because he could burn you deep, but could turn a ten-yard gain into a sixty-yard touchdown instantly. Nabers can do that, too, and looks like the second-best receiver in the class behind only Marvin Harrison Jr.

However, Nabers has some key differences from Wallace. For one, Nabers is more physical when working at the top of his routes and attacks the football in the air better. That is the main distinction between the former Steelers’ deep threat and Nabers. It’s not a perfect comparison, and no comparison is ever all that perfect. But Nabers has different functionality in an offense to win in multiple ways vertically. Still, he also challenges defenders through some physicality, or at least, hand usage savvy in his routes.

Wallace remains one of the more exciting players, and Nabers is explosive. On this note, Nabers’ teammate, Brian Thomas, does remind me of a former Steelers receiver. That would be Martavis Bryant. He has the same effortless, gliding speed but is so fluid in and out of his breaks that he can create some separation. Thomas would be the type of guy to send on crossing routes and on the vertical plane, and he could make some real noise.