Prospect: DeVonte Holloman, OLB, South CarolinaDeVonte Holloman

Height: 6’1⅜”

Weight: 243 lb.

Athleticism:

  • More than adequate open field speed to flow over the top of plays or cover speedy receivers in man coverage
  • Freezes his feet when engaging blockers occasionally, lack of short-area quickness limits ability to shed blocks
  • Frame appears undeveloped for a linebacker, has room to add muscle mass, lack of strength in his game shows that

Intelligence/Effort:

  • Former safety with knowledge of the defense from the back end, switched to the defense’s “Spur” linebacker spot as a senior
  • Very positionally diverse, even moved back to safety spot at times as a senior
  • Instinctive defender who is quick to read and react, very high football IQ
  • Leader on the defense who is always communicating with his teammates
  • Motor runs a bit hot and cold, will definitely dial it down at the end of plays that he doesn’t think he needs to get involved in
  • Arrested and charged with DUI in June of 2011, has kept a clean slate since

Pass Rush:

  • Delays rushes well and has burst to close when lineman take false steps
  • Flashes some ability to bend around the corner as an edge rusher, little experience to fall back on with this aspect of his game
  • Primarily a finesse rusher who will struggle to use any strength with bigger pass blockers

Run Support:

  • Very reliable linebacker who leverages the ball from outside in consistently, will not overpursue
  • Inconsistent shedder of blocks, will extend arms effectively but has lazy hands on the whole
  • Not a very high impact tackler, but he does wrap well and doesn’t miss often
  • Has shown ability to rip the ball out from ball carriers, processes the game quickly
  • Struggles to fight through traffic with his hands, exponentially more effective on the edge
  • Lacks adequate strength or ability to drop his pads as an in-the-box linebacker, technique will improve with experience

Coverage:

  • Reads the quarterback well in coverage with his eyes always on the football
  • Gives effective shots with his hands to receivers before they truly get into their route
  • Fluid hips to turn and run with receivers in man coverage
  • Quick feet as a backpeddler who stays very balanced, technique of a former defensive back, which of course he is
  • Great ball skills as a coverage linebacker with a knack for making big plays

Overall:

DeVonte Holloman seems to be a forgotten linebacker prospect at this stage in the process, of course most non-pass rushing linebackers are.  He’s only been playing a linebacker position for a single season, and even that role for the Gamecocks is more of a hybrid safety/linebacker position.  Holloman shows very high football IQ.  He’s a linebacker who processes the game very quickly and effectively diagnoses plays with recognition skills.  The biggest thing that struck me with Holloman on tape was his ability to affect the game in a high number of ways.  He produced against the run while stacking on the edge, against the pass while covering skilled tight ends and receivers, and even as a blitzer where he lacks experience.  The game simply comes natural for him and it shows.  Having appeared in 51 games with 35 starts during his South Carolina career doesn’t hurt either.  The DUI arrest to his name is something to check into, but he’s a smart football player and teams will look past it.  As teams are starting to employ highly skilled tight ends more and more, defenses need to adjust with linebackers and safeties that can lock them down in coverage.  DeVonte Holloman is that guy.  He’s still learning his position, which is a big bonus because there’s no reason to believe he can’t do it.  Even better, he’s more pro-ready than some other linebacker prospects with more experience.  For 4-3 teams in need of outside linebacker help at the top or middle of the second round, Holloman is a great fit.

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