Philadelphia Eagles: K’Von Wallace comes for the King of Checkdowns

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

There’s an old adage by Ralph Waldo Emerson that goes a little bit like this, “If you come for the King, you’d better not miss.”

It makes sense, right? Considering most Kings have a wealth of resources at their disposal, if you want to challenge them for their authority, you’d better do so on your first hypothetical swing, as landing a second one becomes a whole heck of a lot harder to do.

Why, you may ask, am I sharing this with you here, on a Philadelphia sports blog? Well, because K’Von Wallace took it upon himself to verbally challenge Cam Newton over and over and over again during the Philadelphia Eagles‘ joint practice with the New England Patriots, going so far as to call the former league MVP “The King of Checkdowns.”

Needless to say, Preseason Game 2 is going to be incredibly fun to watch.

The Philadelphia Eagles need to channel K’Von Wallace’s fire for good.

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2020 was not a banner year for K’Von Wallace.

A highly-touted hybrid slot/safety prospect who played on two national championship squads during his four-year tenure at Clemson, many a pundit lauded the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to draft Wallace with the 127th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, with some suggesting Wallace was worthy of a top-100 selection.

Though the Birds did have some solid options at safety heading into the regular season, with Rodney McLeod returning at free safety and Jalen Mills slotted in to fill Malcolm Jenkins‘ shoes on the strong side, many assumed Wallace was a shoo-in to win the nickel safety slot over lesser competition like Marcus Epps and converted UDFA safety, Grayland Arnold.

… only, that didn’t happen, not really anyway.

Despite starting three games for the Eagles during his debut NFL campaign, Wallace only recorded 20 or more defensive snaps in four games versus four more games where he only played on special teams.

To make matters worse, when Wallace was on the field, he wasn’t a particularly impactful player, missing two tackles on 21 total attempts and allowing six catches on nine targets for 53 yards and a QBR of 82.2.

While Epps is routinely the butt of many a joke, he was a more impactful player in 2020 and has a real chance to make the roster in 2021 because of it.

But in 2021, at least a little bit, things seem to have slowed down for Wallace on the field, and the former Tiger appears to be playing a bit looser as a result.

Need proof? Well, look no further than Wallace’s on-field jabber jawing with Cam Newton during the Eagles’ joint practices versus New England.

Despite largely taking snaps with the second-team defense behind Epps and Anthony Harris, Wallace remained engaged on the sidelines when Cam Newton and the Patriots took the field, talking smack on his efforts and calling out his check-downs as the play progressed.

Did Newton appreciate Wallace’s constructive criticism? Surely not, but for a safety who played fairly reserved in 2020, showing some fire both on the field and during his media availability – as per our friend Mike Kaye of – is a welcomed development.

"“I had to let him know like, ‘Not only are you throwing checkdowns, you’re doing it over and over again like you’ve mastered it, like you’re the king of it,’” Wallace said. “I had to let him know, ‘You’re the king of checkdowns.’ But any way you can get in the quarterback’s head, that’s the best approach.”"

See what I mean? That does not sound like a player devoid of confidence.

Next. Travis Fulgham vs. Quez Watkins is a good problem. dark

Will K’Von Wallace ultimately beat out Marcus Epps to become Jonathan Gannon‘s first safety off the bench? Will the former Tiger play an expansive role as a hybrid strong/box/slot player like he did in Clemson, or will playing time come the hard way for Wallace, with a steady diet of special teams snaps between the occasional defensive look? Either way, it’s safe to say the Philadelphia Eagles are excited to see what comes next for #42.