With the 7th pick of the 4th round (107th overall) the 49ers select center Cody Wallace out of Texas A&M.
One of the strongest centers in the college game, Wallace boasts a 480-pound bench press, a 374-pound hang clean and a school record 740-pound squat. He combines a good blend of power and short-area explosiveness to be a violent blocker along the line of scrimmage. His combative nature in the trenches has old-time scouts comparing his style of play to former Buffalo Bills great Jim Ringo and Kansas City’s Tim Grunhard.
With his upper body strength, Wallace has had considerable success in controlling defenders, showing the ability to instantly attack his opponent after snapping the ball. He also shows enough short-area foot quickness to mirror pass rushers when sliding back to protect the pocket.
At Cuero High School, Wallace was a standout powerlifter, advancing to the state finals in that sport. He was a versatile football player, competing at center, tackle and guard during his career, in addition to playing on the defensive front wall as a senior, where he recorded 45 tackles. He was a two-time Class 3A All-State gridiron selection and consensus Texas Top 100 choice. He registered more than 100 knockdown blocks in each of his junior and senior seasons.
Wallace spent the 2003 season redshirting and competing on the scout team at Texas A&M. He saw brief action in five games as a strong-side offensive guard during the 2004 season before taking over center duties the following campaign.
In 2005, he helped pave the way for one of the most prolific offenses in school history. That unit averaged 442.3 yards of total offense per game, which ranks second in Aggies annals. The team also rushed for 234.9 yards per game, which was A&M’s best rushing effort since 1991.
As a junior, Wallace earned first-team All-Big 12 Conference honors after starting all 13 games for the Aggies. The team captain helped the squad generate 397.4 yards of total offense per game, including a league-best 206.8 rushing yards per game. He finished with 121 knockdowns and 11 touchdown-resulting blocks, but was also penalized seven times.
Wallace was a finalist for the Rimington Award in 2007, given to the nation’s top center. His stellar offensive line play helped the Aggies rack up 4,883 yards of total offense (402.8 avg) and score 346 points (28.8 ppg). The All-Big 12 Conference first-team choice was also named the league co-Offensive Lineman of the Year, in addition to picking up Academic All-American accolades. He delivered 131 knockdowns and graded 83.85 percent for blocking consistency.
“Cody Wallace is a phenomenal football player and a phenomenal young man,” Aggie offensive line coach Jim Bob Helduser said. “He’s been a pleasure, a joy and a blessing to work with for the past five years. I couldn’t think of a more deserving candidate for the Rimington Trophy.”
During his final two seasons, Wallace registered an impressive 252 knockdown blocks while allowing 4.5 sacks and three pressures on 706 pass plays…The second Aggie to be named a finalist for the Rimington Trophy (2007), joining Seth McKinney, who was edged out by Ohio State’s LeCharles Bentley in 2001.
Attended Cuero (Texas) High School, playing football for head coach Bill Littleton…Lined up at center, tackle and guard during his career, in addition to playing on the defensive front wall as a senior, where he recorded 45 tackles…Two-time Class 3A All-State gridiron selection and consensus Texas Top 100 choice…Registered more than 100 knockdown blocks in each of his junior and senior seasons…Also a standout powerlifter, advancing to the state finals in that sport.
Positives: Taller than most centers, but has a solid build with good chest development, wide hips, thick thighs and legs, broad shoulders, good arm length and a firm midsection…Physically strong player who is a productive in-line blocker, but will get pushed back into the pocket when he gets too tall in his stance…Has a quick initial step to create movement off the snap and shows good in-line kick slide to mirror the bull rushers at the line of scrimmage…Despite marginal playing speed, he takes good angles and shows body adjustment skills working along the line of scrimmage…Has been a durable athlete who will play with pain…Best when blocking in-line, as he sets with a strong base and shows better balance when he sinks his weight and stays low in his pad level…Has the functional hip snap to redirect playing inside the tackles and is quick to recognize twists and games…Uses his upper body strength to torque and control defenders when he fires low off the snap…Very quick to get into position and gets his head up instantly after snapping the ball…His hand punch can be violent at the point of attack and he works hard to finish…Has a good work ethic and toughness and takes pride in his leadership role, as he will not hesitate to mentor a younger lineman…Steps into position with his feet firmly planted and when he comes off the ball with a low, hard burst, he can gain advantage… Stays square in his base and shows enough lateral agility to get in front on the short pulls…Generates good pop on initial contact and when he locks on to a defender, he gets good success in attempts to sustain…Has an aggressive hand punch when trying to get movement at the X’s…Plays with a strong anchor, thanks to proper knee bend and does a nice job of staying on top of the bull rusher, showing good hand placement vs. counter moves…Also shows a good slide and lower body adjustments getting back to protect the pocket…Easily controls the defender once he latches on to the opponent with his hands… Extends, separates and remains active in attempts to sustain ands has good recoil action, but if he extends his arms more often, he would have better success neutralizing the faster rushers…Has a quick kick step when redirecting and is alert to stunts, using his knee bend to recover…His anchor is suspect when he gets tall in his stance, but he is better playing vs. power than quickness, as he is a classic mauler with good lock-out ability… Efficient shot-gun snapper with good quickness and accuracy getting the ball back cleanly to the quarterback…Plays with his head on a swivel and works well in supporting his guards on combo blocks.
Negatives: A better inline blocker than in space…Shows only marginal playing speed to get to the second level, with poor body adjustment working in space…Struggles to stay in front when having to pull past the short area…Lacks the ability to sustain blocks and finish when he gets too tall in his stance (defenders can get into his jersey and skate him back into the pocket)…Best playing at the X’s, as his feet tend to die when he has to adjust and mirror defenders downfield…Doesn’t consistently make contact with defenders in space, as he does not deliver that strong in-line hand punch when on the move because he gets taken off balance and will start swiping wildly with his arms…Footwork needs refinement in his forward charge, as defenders can lock on and jerk him to the ground (leaves chest exposed)…Must keep his hands inside the frame better on short pulls, as he does not sustain blocks long when on the move…Slow to adjust to second-level defenders and must find shorter angles when playing in that area…When he gets up on his heels, he is susceptible to active counter moves (loses balance)…Might not get over-powered often, but because of marginal foot speed, he struggles often when asked to contain the quicker blitzers (slow to recoil with his hands)…Gets flat-footed at times on combo blocks and is then slow to redirect (better when staying at the line of scrimmage than on the move).
Compares To: ERIC GHIACIUC-Cincinnati…Like Ghiaciuc, Wallace has impressive strength, which is best utilized at the X’s rather than on the move. He has very good hand placement and punch when he lets the action come to him, but will fall off blocks on the move. He is a marginal second-level blocker who plays better with a defender over his head rather than when having to make reach blocks. He struggles with speed moves, evident by the success Senior Bowl defenders had slipping past him. With his short-area explosion and upper body strength, he will be best served in a system that does not require its centers to move around much