Swiss Army Knife: K’Von Wallace Edition
One of the most versatile players in the draft, and one of the only picks that Eagles fans were collectively happy about, Howie Roseman chose safety, K’Von Wallace from Clemson, with the pick number 127 in the 2020 NFL Draft. Collectively thought as a plug-and-play versatile defender that doesn’t really have one position, but an arsenal of them, Wallace should bring some needed juice to this poor tackling defensive backfield. Let’s take a closer look at Jim Schwartz’ new swiss army knife.
Physically, K’Von may not be the most physically gifted player on the field, measuring in at 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, but his physicality and instincts are second-to-none! Wallace has the ability to sniff out well set-up screens, fight through the blocks to get to the ball carrier, and plant him in the backfield for a sore loss of yardage. Wallace managed to sack the quarterback on three separate occasions and hit the ball carrier for loss five and a half times in his tenure with Dabo Swinney. One thing he does well that has been highlighted by the defensive backs in the Eagles’ defense recently has been blitz the quarterback and make sure those hits are felt.
I know what you’re thinking though. “These are the traits of a slot corner. Why is he listed as a safety?” Like I said earlier, this man is a swiss army knife in the grand scheme of this mastermind defensive plan taking place in Philadelphia.
In addition to his physicality, K’Von has a nose for the football. Wallace had three straight seasons with a coverage grade over 80.0 on at least 400 defensive snaps until he managed to have his best season as a member of the Clemson Tigers in 2019, posting a coverage grade of 89.7. In his senior season, Wallace posted two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and ten passes defensed. These numbers were good enough to be more than every season of his college career combined.
Physicality? Check. Coverage? Check. Willing tackler? Check. Versatility? Check. So why did Wallace fall to pick 127 in the draft? Why was he not considered among the elite prospects of the draft like Grant Delpit, Jeremy Chinn and Kyle Dugger? As we’ve all seen, this is a copycat league. The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers were the two fastest teams in the NFL in 2019 and it is no coincidence that the league caught on quick. The Oakland Raiders took the first wide receiver in the draft and his name was not Jerry Jeudy, like the consensus thought. Henry Ruggs III, and his 4.27 second 40-yard dash, will be suiting up in the black and silver. The Denver Broncos double dipped at wide receiver and took speedster K.J. Hamler in the second round. Even our Eagles bought into the speed hype on day three of the draft and doubled up with John Hightower and Quez Watkins. What am I getting at? Wallace lacks the top end speed that the NFL is looking for right now. He has the quick twitch ability to hold somebody up at the line and run with them for a short route with quick cuts but, he doesn’t have that extra gear to truly take him to elite levels.
One knock on a fourth-round pick though? One hundred and twenty six players went before this man but when the time came and his name was called, K’Von donned the black hat with the a midnight green eagle on the front with the words “Fly Eagles Fly” draped on the side in the bright lights that rival those of only Las Vegas itself and said, in true K’Von Wallace fashion, “Let’s work fellas!!” Oh, and if you don’t want to listen to me and want some validation from a Hall of Fame defensive back, take Troy Vincent’s words, “He’s a winner.” Welcome to Philly, K’Von! Fly Eagles Fly!
MANDATORY PHOTO CRED: Rick Scuteri/Associated Press