Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 5/30/13
The following is the 7th and final entry in aseries of draft profiles for the Dallas Cowboys' selected players from April'sdraft. These profiles are put together after watching significant amounts ofgame tape from each player, and is an attempt to examine their resumes and playto get an idea of how they might fit in best with Dallas come training camp inOxnard this summer. DeVonte Holloman SouthCarolina Outside Linebacker 6'0, 243 40 time:4.71, Bench Press: 15 February 12, 1991 (Age 22) If you read my offerings on a semi-regular basis, you knowthe nuts and bolts of NFL game theory is of great interest to me. Youhave heard me go on and on about how the "Game-day 45" (46) isvitally important to wins and losses and how difficult it is - relative to anyother level of football - to make sure that any man who has a uniform on isable to contribute on a very high level for whatever his role may be. That is because once you get through the heavily used 16-17offensive players, the 17-18 heavily used defensive players, the dedicatedkickers, punters, deep snappers, and Quarterbacks, you are left with roughly 5guys who make up your special teams core. These players are almostalways either running backs, tight ends, wide receivers, linebackers, ordefensive backs. They will play on all 4 special teams (punt cover,punt return, kick cover, and kick return) which amounts to about 20 plays pergame. You often never know their names unless something goes reallywrong or really right, and they often make the league minimum and have 3 yearsor fewer in service time. And that is what makes aspecial teams coach's job very difficult. He usually has to findthese 5-6 guys every season from the leftovers when the offensive coordinatoror defensive coordinator are done filling out the depth charts and theygenerally aren't the same guys he had the season before. In 2012, on opening night in New York, the 5 players who performed on all4 special teams for Joe DeCamillis were: Phillip Tanner, Mana Silva, AndreHolmes, Dan Conner, and Alex Albright. Lawrence Vickers and JamesHanna were on 3 of the 4 teams, and that was pretty much the entire crew.Silva, Holmes, and Conner are gone. Vickers and Tanner willhave to make the team again, and Albright and Hanna have a chance to graduateup the depth chart. This means that new special teamscoach Rich Bisaccia will start carving out his squad with a completely freshslate. And that likely had everything to do with what the Cowboys didat pick 185, when they targeted DeVonte Holloman from South Carolina. Holloman is just the type of guy who goes off the board atthis point in the draft because he just might satisfy your needs for now andhopes for down the road. Now, he should be able to step right in andfill a jersey on game day, without playing defensive snaps (health pending, ofcourse) and contribute on 20 special teams plays. For the future, hemight be able to develop into the type of guy you could see starting at"SAM" linebacker if a vacancy presents itself. In watching him on the coach's film in the last few weeks, I will tellyou that he certainly fits the mold of a converted defensive back who has growninto a bigger build but kept the athleticism that is key at this level todefend against quick slot guys or running backs in the flat. He has thick and long arms and a wing span that is quiteremarkable for his height (79.1 inches) which doesn't help his bench pressnumbers, but certainly does help him work his way through traffic and find theball carrier. He runs quite well and gets his drops in coverage(something that is huge in this new scheme) with ease and confidence.Then his breaks on the ball will pass most tests as well. I will say that he did have an issue that jumped out at me on tapethat I assume didn't help his draft position, and that would be the dreadedquestion of motor. On plays at him, he is fine and engaged.But, on plays away from him, where football people will watch to seewho keeps running to the ball and stays involved in a play until the whistle"just in case", Holloman did not grade well. He watches andstands and occasionally looks like a guy who was preserving his health for theNFL draft in the spring. That might not be thatuncommon actually, to see a guy play carefully in that final college season. Infact, I imagine it is more profound at South Carolina where the players withSunday dreams had the Marcus Lattimore dose of reality right in theirlocker-room, but, still, it should be noted. It was evident on morethan one occasion that he doesn't exactly fly to the ball. Otherwise, he exhibits the ability to rush the passer, he tries to findthe ball and strip it loose (as he did in their bowl game against Michigan onDenard Robinson) and he has the ability to line up against a slot receiver ashe did a number of times in their game against Florida. When you arepicking nearly 200 players deep in a draft, it makes plenty of sense to find aguy who exhibits plenty of talent and upside and see if you can develop him inthe 4 years that you get with a very reasonable rate of 2.2m for the totalrookie contract (just 100k guaranteed). Here is somevideo to look at, if you haven't already seen it: Holloman 21 vs Michigan VsGeorgia Summary: This type of pick is ano-brainer on a number of levels. You find a guy who you areconfident can already be one of your special teams spine and it is great to seehim alreadyembrace that premise and prepare himself to go out there and be a key part ofthat crew. Down the road, there will bechances for him to grow into a spot where you can consider starting him ifBruce Carter cannot maintain his health or perhaps you try to envision a spotwhere one of the two can flip to the weak side eventually. But, fornow, this is about finding guys who are young and talented and putting them onyour roster and seeing what happens. If you are not filled with guyslike this, then you find yourself in November signing guys like Ernie Sims andBrady Poppinga off the street to come in and play for you. Thoseplayers might help you in your base defense, but at that stage of their career,they are not really strong candidates for special teams as they have not playedon them, nor embraced the idea in years. And if guys do not buy in onspecial teams, then they do not sell out. And if they do not sell outon their assignment, you give up a return for a TD and likely lose the game. That is why there is nothing wrong at all with a picklike this - nor the signing of undrafted free agent Brandon MaGee from ArizonaState - to step in and fill the spots that are available for guys looking tostick in the NFL by stepping through the open door that special teamsprovide. Satisfy all of your duties there and thecoaching staff is more inclined to throw more vital spots at you in the future.
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