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
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.
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