Name: K’Von Wallace
Wallace is considered an under-the-radar player by many, as his production isn’t eye-popping, and he was never the best player on the Clemson defense. Considered to be too small for the safety position, Clemson found ways to use him at nickel corner and both safety positions.
His versatility will lead to him being a swiss-army knife of sorts at the NFL level. He has the football IQ necessary to play on an island if absolutely necessary, but his projections put him as a slot corner for the best chance of success. For a defensive back of his size, you’d think he would absolutely have to be technical and make no mistakes, but he’s at his best when he’s making snap judgments based on what he sees on the field. Wallace has plus ball skills, and will often play the ball instead of the receiver, which has resulted in 15 passes defended over the past three seasons, including 10 in 2019, his first ‘full’ year as a starter. He also showed a propensity for reaching the quarterback last season, notching two sacks to go with his two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown).
Best trait: Zone Coverage.
As you can probably guess with a smaller defensive back, he’s not the best cover guy in man-to-man, deep situations, as he simply doesn’t have the size to box out bigger receivers or attack at the catch point. I don’t love his ability in run defense, leading me to believe that (at least initially) he will be a pass defense player, used in ‘racecar’ sets with multiple defensive backs on the field. This will give him the best chance to succeed as he can roam and use his Football IQ to make plays on shallow routes.
Worst trait: Physicality
Listen, I love Tavon Young. But until he can prove that he can stay healthy, it’s absolutely necessary for the Ravens to find a quality backup for him, which would keep Marlon Humphrey from having to move into the slot. Wallace solves that problem while also giving them a quality depth and racecar presence. The Ravens have always put an emphasis on defense, and especially the secondary of late. Wallace provides a perfect fit for what they need in terms of depth.
PJ Williams (NO 2014-Current)
Similarly built, Williams has shown the same propensity for versatility in the NFL, that we’ve seen from Wallace in college. When the Saints have needed Williams in a certain position, he’s played it to the best of his ability without complaint. I’d expect the same type of production from Wallace.
Wallace’s draft stock has stayed steady throughout the draft process thus far, and while he’s being overlooked in many scenarios, he could very well turn out to be a steal in the later rounds, a la Chuck Clark.