Eagles 2020 breakout candidate: K’Von Wallace primed for a big rookie year

Eagles 2020 breakout candidate: K’Von Wallace primed for a big rookie year

Over the next two weeks, I’m taking a look at 10 Eagles players who might be primed for a breakout season in 2020. I looked at Boston Scott yesterday. 

Up today: K’Von Wallace 

Age: 22

How acquired: Drafted in 4th round (No. 127)

Entering: Year 1 

It might seem overly ambitious to name a fourth-round rookie as a breakout candidate but there are reasons it isn’t crazy. 

While Wallace was the 127th selection in this year’s draft, he’s considered by many to be be a steal in the fourth round. In fact, ProFootballFocus named Wallace one of the biggest steals in the entire 2020 draft class.

At Clemson, Wallace was a three-year starter and played 59 games for the Tigers. He was a versatile player at Clemson, playing strong safety, free safety and some as the nickel corner. That type of versatility is likely one of the attributes that really attracted the Eagles to him. 

Another huge part of Wallace’s game is his physicality. 

Check out what VP of player personnel Andy Weidl said about Wallace after the Eagles drafted him: 

“You know, the thing about K'Von Wallace is his tape, and what stuck out was his physicality, his tackling, his ability to play around the line of scrimmage. The mentality he played with, the motor he played with. He's a guy that likes contact. He gets to the ball. He passes people to the ball, and when he gets there, he strikes. We saw that. It was consistent with the motor that he played with, the mentality he played with, and we really enjoyed it and thought he fit what we were doing and what we're putting together here.”

At 5-foot-11, 206 pounds, Wallace isn’t the biggest player and he’s not a speed demon. His 4.53 time in the 40 put him in the 65th percentile among safeties. 

But it’s not like Wallace isn’t athletic. He is. 

During the pre-draft process, Wallace became one of my favorite players and I actually mocked him to the Eagles several times. He seems to check a lot of their boxes for defensive backs. He’s instinctive, competitive and versatile. 

And a reason he has a chance to break out, perhaps more than many of his fellow rookies, is opportunity. The Eagles will be able to get him into the rotation and the only players in front of him are Jalen Mills and Will Parks, who are both on one-year deals. 

While Mills knows the Eagles’ defense, he’s switching positions this offseason from corner to safety. And while Parks knows the position, he’s switching teams this offseason from Denver to Philly. 

Maybe Mills or Parks becomes a long-term solution — it’s certainly possible — but the Eagles drafted Wallace and if he impresses enough early, he should be at least given a chance to win the safety job next to Rodney McLeod, not just for this season but for the future too. 

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles​​​

Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

Eagle Eye podcast: What Jason Peters move means for Andre Dillard, plus much more

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Barrett Brooks take a long look at the Eagles’ decision to bring back Jason Peters.

They get into what the move means for Andre Dillard, whether Peters will ultimately end up back at left tackle, how long J.P. might be able to extend his career if he stays at guard, how long it will take him to adjust to a new position and and much more. 

They also looked at defensive tackle and defensive end on the All-Time Eagles Team and whether Fletcher Cox or Jerome Brown is the greatest defensive tackle in Eagles history. 

(0:42) — Jason Peters back with the Eagles to play right guard

(27:18) — Jerome vs. Fletcher 

More on the Eagles

Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans won't be allowed at games this fall, health officials say

Eagles fans should start coming to grips with watching games from their couch in 2020.

After the city of Philadelphia cancelled "large public events" through February 2021 on Tuesday, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, health officials provided an update on the feasability of fans watching Eagles games in person.

Philadelphia Department of Health commissioner Thomas Farley and Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy made it sound all but certain that Lincoln Financial Field stands will be empty.

Per the Inquirer:

"I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they're proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there," Farley said. "I can't say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds."

"The Eagles are still going to be allowed to play, although without crowds. The Phillies will continue to be allowed to play, although without crowds," Managing Director Brian Abernathy said.

Abernathy said NFL guidelines also "remind teams that local authorities have the ability to ban fans, so I don't expect any issues."

"We have been in communication with the Eagles. We have told them our expectations are that they don't have fans," Albernathy said.

Whether other teams around the country will be able to host fans, based on differing guidance from state officials, remains to be seen. Earlier this month, reports emerged claiming the NFL is considering fan waivers for those interested in attending home games this season.

A season without home fans also means the Eagles stand to lose a sizable sum of money if the NFL plays its 17-week regular season as scheduled.

As NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro noted, the Eagles will be one of the 10 teams most affected (financially) by a lack of fans at home games:

The Eagles in 2018 were tied for eighth in the NFL with $204 million in stadium revenue. Just the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Texans, Jets 49ers and Redskins made more.

In late June, the organization informed season ticket holders that their ticket installment payments would not be billed, fueling speculation that games would be played in empty stadiums this fall. 

Barring a drastic change in the pandemic's trajectory between now and early September, it seems that speculation was right.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

More on the Eagles