Second-year safety K’Von Wallace is one of the more promising young players on the Eagles roster entering the 2021 season. He didn’t get a ton of playing time last season, but his tape showcased a safety that has the potential to eventually take the reigns as the full-time starter.
With Rodney McLeod set to be out for the first few weeks of the season due to his placement on the PUP list, Wallace will be called upon to fill that vacancy. At least that was the sentiment before last week’s preseason game against Pittsburgh.
Wallace didn’t suit up for the Eagles first preseason contest due to injury, leaving Marcus Epps to man the vacant safety spot opposite of Anthony Harris. Epps had a solid outing, recording 7 solo tackles on the night. Epps is easy to pick on and has become somewhat of an after thought heading into the year, but he proved last season that he can be a viable option when called upon.
In five starts in 2020, Epps tallied 2 interceptions, 4 pass deflections, and 47 combine tackles. He was also the highest graded safety on the team per Pro Football Focus, earning an overall grade of 75.1 with a coverage grade of 74.8.
At just 25 years old, Epps could just as easily step in as the ‘safety of the future’ over Wallace. Which is why Wallace needs to come out in the second preseason game and have himself a night.
It already appears the Clemson product is prepping for his bout against the New England quarterbacks, as reports indicated Wallace was constantly heckling former league MVP Cam Newton during the second day of their joint practice sessions on Tuesday. No. 42 proclaimed Newton as The Checkdown King, according to sources at practice, and Cam wasn’t happy about.
“I’m just aggressive, in my approach to the game and who I go against,” Wallace said. “I feel like whoever is the opposition, I do my best to get in their head. To say what I need to say, to do what I need to do to beat them, to win, and I felt like at the time, there were a lot of checkdowns going on.”
If this energy carries into Thursday night’s game against Newton and his Patriots, Wallace should be in for a great night. And he’ll need it. If he fails to have a strong impact, Jonathan Gannon may opt to go with Epps in McLeod’s absence. Epps is a more proven commodity than Wallace, but Wallace has a more exciting skill set and a much higher ceiling than Epps.
Wallace will be the most interesting player to watch on Gannon’s defense Thursday night. Keep an eye on him.