Football Intelligence –His film is littered with a blend of misreads and anticipatory flashes. He really drives well on screen passes and quick game in the peripherals. Can get lost in the trash as he keys mesh point as a MIKE LB, so added consistency here and processing development is required.
Tackling –He's got really violent finishes thanks to explosiveness throughout his frame and a few of his moving tackles are more like car crashes. He's somewhat wild in pursuit though, would like to see better confidence to come to balance in as he slashed in with pursuit.
Block Shedding –He doesn't have the longest of arms or biggest of wingspans but he definitely has violent hands. Have seen him toss around skill players trying to block him in the slot or in the backfield as he attacks the passer as a blitzer. He's okay in head up stacks of OL.
Competitive Toughness –Every team ought to have on LB just like him on their squad: if he's playing forward he's playing with reckless abandon and love his fearlessness in high traffic situations. His pursuit and rally skills were tested a bit vs. Duke.
Lateral Mobility –Has sideline to sideline pursuit skills and when he was tested to the boundary, he often delivered. Only time he got beat on an angle was Daniel Jones rolling right vs. man coverage, but he was blitzing and somewhat behind the play before it started.
Coverage Skills –Athletic ability is definitely present. Have seen him his some pretty far landmarks in pursuit playing zone coverage, but his body awareness and sense of route combinations is still developing and he left some plays on the ball on the field.
Gap Shooting Ability –His hit or miss results reading and keying plays don't yield a lot of constant results attacking forward into the line of scrimmage. Instead, he'll be arriving with blockers awaiting him and he's more of a plug instead of a splash defender.
Feet/Change of Direction –His athletic ability shines through, even though his feet can be a little raw as far as being balanced and aiding in his transitions. He's got good, fluid movements and can duck under a block on a moment's notice to attack the football.
Flexibility –He's not tight, but he is wild. That hinders his body control as it would if he were restricted through the core and hips. But flashes of contortion exist on film and suggest with better fundamentals and discipline with technique, his mobility could shine bright.
First Step Quickness –As evidenced by his athletic testing, there's a whole lot to work with here. He's got good spring and when he sees a play, he's swift to sniff it out...particularly when he's attacking the line of scrimmage and bearing down on something quick hitting.
BEST TRAIT – Explosiveness
WORST TRAIT – Coverage Skills
BEST FILM – Pittsburgh (2018)
WORST FILM – Duke (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
Cole Holcomb has the foundational skills to be a starting linebacker in the pros down the road. Holcomb has some development needed in the mental and technical portions of his game, his play early will suffer if he's tasked with taking the field prematurely on a high percentage of his snaps. That said, he's worth a low-risk investment, given his explosive qualities, athletic ability and strong athleticism to develop with NFL coaching.
ROUND GRADE - Seventh Round