I’ve got absolutely no argument with the Eagles’ selection of K’Von Wallace. Howie and I are on the same page on this one. They got a good player and they got him in the right value spot with the 21st pick in the fourth round.
This is a smart kid with a lot of experience and a lot of big-game experience. He played in a school-record 59 games at Clemson, including six playoff games, and had 36 starts. He was a team captain. He is a locker room leader. He did internships with Cisco and the NFL.
He plays with an aggressive mindset. He’s an excellent tackler. He lined up at both corner and safety for Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, and can wear a lot of different hats on the back end for Jim Schwartz.
He’s an excellent blitzer, which is something they lost at the safety position when they let Malcolm Jenkins walk. Jenkins blitzed a career-high 75 times last season and had a career-high nine quarterback hits and 2 ½ sacks.
Venables moved Wallace around at Clemson. Wallace played the deep middle and near the line of scrimmage, and also had some nickel responsibilities. NFL Network draft analyst Ben Fennell had Wallace rated as the best nickel corner in the draft.
While the pandemic and the expected reduction of practice time likely is going to have a dramatic impact on the ability of rookies to make a significant contribution this season, Wallace is one guy who could be more than a special-teamer as a rookie.
I’m OK with their other fourth-round pick, Jack Driscoll. He’ll likely spend the next year or two at the Jeff Stoutland Learning Academy and then we’ll see how it goes.
Like Wallace, he’s a smart kid, which never is a bad thing, especially for an offensive lineman who probably is going to be asked to learn multiple positions.
He earned not one but two college degrees. He started 25 games at right tackle the last two years after transferring from UMass, but I suspect the Eagles brass and coaches envision him more as an inside player, perhaps a center-guard swing guy.
With Jason Kelce doing his year-to-year thing, with Brandon Brooks recovering from his second major injury in as many years and turning 31 in August, the Eagles need to start looking for eventual interior replacements.
Let’s be real here, this whole grading of drafts is an exercise in futility, especially when it comes to evaluating the players. How could I possibly know more about K’Von Wallace and Jack Driscoll than the Eagles, who spent months scouting the prospects? I can’t. But what I can do is assess the process, report and dig for unfiltered opinions, and analyze whether the players have the necessary tools to succeed in the NFL and with the Eagles.
When the hit rate for teams is well below 50%, anything is up for reasoned debate. Wallace I did watch some, my best recollection of the safety from the national championship game between Clemson and LSU. He spent a lot of time covering receiver Justin Jefferson, who the Eagles passed on in the first round, both in man and zone, and he did very well against the slot.
Some scouts project Wallace as a slot cornerback in the NFL, and while that may end up being the case, he played all over the field for Clemson, and I’d imagine the Eagles believe he could be as versatile at the next level. He has all the off-the-field traits you’d want out of a defensive quarterback. Wallace was a team captain and a highly-motivated individual in both football and other pursuits. There was a reason he was there in the fourth round, but I see little to fault the Eagles in terms of the draft expenditure.
They would have likely taken Southern Illinois safety Jeremy Chinn in the second round had they not gone the unconventional route and drafted quarterback Jalen Hurts. He has greater upside than Wallace and could have been the intimidator the Eagles have lacked in the secondary for years. But they may have gotten a better fit two rounds later.
Jack Driscoll is likely to be a project. He’s got the kind of athleticism the Eagles want out of their offensive linemen, but he may need some extra time with the strength and conditioning crew. The 6-foot-5, 306-pound Driscoll has the frame to pack on muscle.
He mostly played tackle at Auburn, but he could project to play any of the interior spots. He is a bright kid, who checks off all the character boxes. While I’d rate the Wallace selection the better of the two fourth rounders, Driscoll doesn’t seem like a reach, especially when you factor in the Eagles’ scheme and record in developing raw offensive linemen.
The final day of the Eagles’ draft, especially the fourth round, was the best one. They’ll be lucky to get a starter or two out of their Day 3 picks, but the selections should improve those odds.
Credit where it’s due, the Eagles drafted in line with their new defensive identity, bringing in Clemson “safety” K’Von Wallace. He has the positional versatility they suddenly value so highly, playing 396 career snaps as a slot corner, 208 as a box safety, and 63 as a deep safety.
Sure, there isn’t much of a track record of the Eagles utilizing a versatile secondary, but it’s still hard to fault them for taking a solid prospect who aligns with the team’s philosophy so seamlessly.
Wallace has played in a lot of big games, has proven himself as a solid tackler and got top coverage grades from Pro Football Focus, which ranked him 60th overall on their draft board. The former Clemson captain might start his career off mostly on special teams, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him competing for a place in the secondary before too long.
The theme of the Eagles’ draft was speed, and they stayed true to form even when drafting Auburn offensive lineman Jack Driscoll. At 6-foot-5, 302 pounds, Driscoll ran a 5.02 second 40-yard dash and was in the 95th percentile in the broad jump. He played exclusively at right tackle for Auburn by way of UMass, but probably doesn’t have the size or the length to stick there in the NFL. He could slide down to either guard or center for the Eagles.
Jeff Stoutland’s latest developmental lineman was named PFF’s “sleeper” pick of the offensive tackle class thanks to his college production, meaning the analytics like Driscoll. Even if he turns out to be a solid depth piece capable of playing multiple positions, it’s good value.
I haven’t seen anyone have an issue with the Eagles’ fourth round. In fact, if they’d taken safety K’Von Wallace 53rd overall in the second, and then managed to get quarterback Jalen Hurts in the fourth, I think everyone would have thought Howie Roseman did a great job. But that wasn’t how it shook out. I was surprised Wallace was still there in the fourth; I think maybe it had to do with some people seeing him as more of a nickel corner.
I’ll be interested to see if Wallace’s blitzing prowess changes any of Jim Schwartz’s ideas about the four-man rush being preferable.