Friday, April 10, 2015

2015 NFL Draft #65 - Gerod Holliman, S, Louisville

http://cowboysblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/2015-nfl-draft-profile-gerod-holliman-s-louisville.html/

I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
Find all the profiles here.
Gerod Holliman, S, Louisville - 6'0, 218 - Senior - 4.65 40
Louisville's Gerod Holliman stands with his trophy after being awarded the Jim Thorpe Award as the nations best defensive back at the College Football Awards, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Louisville's Gerod Holliman stands with his trophy after being awarded the Jim Thorpe Award as the nations best defensive back at the College Football Awards, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
In 2014, 6 different college football defensive backs intercepted seven passes each to rank 3rd in major college football.  Ole Miss' safety Senquez Golson intercepted 10 to rank 2nd.  But alone in 1st place in all of the land by a huge margin was Gerod Holliman from Louisville.   He not only led the nation, but did so with a number of interceptions that has not been exceeded in many, many years.
So, why, when we study the player are we trying to figure out why he is not more widely celebrated?  Well, for more on that discussion we had to answer a hypothetical of such interesting proportions that we had never seen anything quite like it.  What if you found a player with incredible ball skills and the uncanny knack for anticipating where the ball is going, yet had such a disinterest in tackling that he almost avoids it?  We watched the Boston College, Kentucky, and Florida State games to learn more:
Holliman wears #8 in the files below:

What I liked:  We are all looking for players who can pull of center field in coverage and Holliman does it very well.  He had several picks where he seemed to dupe fine Quarterbacks - Jameis Winston in particular - into throwing the ball into harm's way.  Believe it or not, he actually dropped a few and could have had more than 14 interceptions.  To take the ball away that many times is a ball-hawking trick that should not be minimized.  He actually had 4 different games with multiple interceptions.  He blitzed a few times as well and wasn't bad there, either, although his speed is not much to write home about.  He also is just 20 years old and a player who may continue to develop.
What I did not like:   I don't want to over-state this in any way, but in my years of watching prospects, I am positive I have never seen any safety who was this poor at making tackles at the college level.  Sometimes, it was a really poor angle (below).  Sometimes, it was the unwillingness to take on a block (below).  Sometimes, it was allowing a teammate to take the contact as he stood by and stayed out of the fray.  But, overall, it was really remarkable how much he avoided contact - enough to make you wonder if he was hiding a major injury that he could aggravate by tackling.  He also showed times where he was moved by a pump fake or took the bait underneath and allowed a guy to run right past him in the secondary.  There is very little "safe" about Holliman patrolling center-field, which makes almost no sense for a guy who dominated the interception category in major college football.
Summary:  I can't stress enough how contradictory his skill set is.  If he were even a mediocre tackler, he would be a Top 60 pick, but as it stands, I am not sure how any team can watch his aversion to physicality and think he is worth a major investment.  He hates to hit and when he does it is with almost no conviction.  His safety mate, James Sample can be seen running past him to make a hit on several occasions.  You don't have to watch much to see him avoiding tackles which if you are a press corner who runs 4.3 with Deion Sanders' skills, we will consider, but as a 4.65 safety, it is pretty much enough to disqualify him from consideration to appear anywhere on the draft board.  And, honestly, for a guy with 14 interceptions in 2014, that seems like a nearly impossible scenario. I will take a pass on Holliman and allow him to prove somewhere else that he has what it takes to play safety in the NFL.  He might figure it out, but I tend to doubt it.

And, if you don't mind, please check out the Bob and Dan (BaD) Radio show in Dallas-Fort Worth, from 12p-3p, Monday-Friday, on Sportsradio 1310 and 96.7fm, The Ticket.  www.theticket.com 

No comments: