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Philadelphia Eagles: Keep starting K’Von Wallace and don’t look back

Original Source: https://section215.com/2020/10/06/philadelphia-eagles-kvon-wallace-3/

The Philadelphia Eagles should keep starting K’Von Wallace.

It wasn’t a perfect first start for Philadelphia Eagles safety K’Von Wallace, but it was without question good enough to warrant more playing time moving forward. The Eagles are already noticeably thin in the defensive back department (I know, shocker), and they’re fourth-round safety showed just enough on Sunday to lead me to believe he can hold down a starting safety job for the remainder of the 2020 season.

With multiple corners down to injury heading into the ballgame, the Eagles made a last second audible and decided to switch Jalen Mills back outside to CB. It was a move that has been rumored for the last week or so, considering the team’s woeful outside corner play and Mills’ struggles converting to safety.

It was initially reported that Marcus Epps would be the starter in place of Mills at strong safety, but it was the former Clemson Tiger K’Von Wallace who got the nod instead. Wallace immediately made his presence known, logging an impressive tackle in the box on the opening drive of the game. The Niners went three-and-out, and it was hard not to feel like Wallace brought a different level of “energy” to the Eagles depleted secondary.

Despite beginning the game as the listed starter, Wallace was ultimately out-snapped by the before mentioned Epps. Epps finished the game with 44 snaps played and 8 total tackles, whereas Wallace recorded 27 snaps and 2 tackles.

Despite being less productive than Epps on paper, Wallace is still the logical starting choice moving forward. Epps has had a handful of really bad blown coverages/missed assignments dating back to 2019, including a whiffed tackle last night where Niners WR Brandon Aiyuk hurdled straight over him.

The Eagles will likely keep rocking with Mills at CB (considering the fact that he had a pretty solid game), and they’ll need someone to come in and replace his hyper-versatility at safety. Epps is a fringe-level backup who can fill in at times, but he simply doesn’t compare to Wallace’s versatility and athleticism.

In college, Wallace took snaps at strong safety, free safety, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, outside corner, slot corner, and even lined up as a pass rusher at times. He was praised extensively for his positional flexibility at Clemson, and his National Championship experience puts him in a solid position to succeed at the next level.

After getting his feet wet in the NFL through the first couple of drives, Wallace was quickly exposed to the harsh reality that is professional football. He was tasked with guarding George Kittle in man coverage during the second half (due to Nate Gerry‘s and Duke Riley‘s inability to do so), and things didn’t go too well for the rookie safety. Kittle stiff-armed the heck out of him on a short out route, and then completely mossed him on a deep cross-field completion.

Kittle is the best tight end in the NFL, so I’m not going to sit here and criticize Wallace for getting beat by him in single coverage. Literally everyone gets cooked by Kittle. If anything, it speaks volumes of Wallace’s ability that the coaching staff trusted him to at least attempt guarding Kittle.

With Mills set to hit free agency once more this offseason, there’s really no reason for the Philadelphia Eagles not to turn the reigns over to Wallace in the near future. It might take another couple of weeks to get his snap count elevated to that of a true “starter”, but hopefully he’s locked into the position permanently by Week 7 or 8.

Rookie or not, Wallace is a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball, and the Eagles desperately need playmakers. Getting him more time on the field will only help the Eagles here in 2020, as well as setting their defense up for success in 2021 and beyond.

And hey, the Eagles are undefeated when Wallace starts a football game, so there’s that too.