Cowboys Draft Profile: FS Gerod Holliman

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Gerod Holliman, FS, Louisville
Ht. 6000, Wt. 218, Arm: 32", Hand: 9 1/2", Bench: 17
40 yd: -, 10 yd.: -, 3 Cone: -, Vertical: -, Broad: -
Games Watched: at Boston College, Florida St.

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The Cowboys need help at every level of their defense, but free safety might be their biggest need. Unfortunately, the Cowboys picked a bad year to need a free safety.

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Louisville free safety, who won the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back in 2014, seemed like a good place to start the search. Holliman replaced Jets first-round pick Calvin Pryor by tying an NCAA record with 14 interceptions and earning consensus All-America honors.

Strengths

Louisville used a variety of coverages last season, but Holliman was their single-high safety for good reason. He has good range and even better instincts, which is why he intercepted so many passes and was in position for several more.

Holliman looked like he belonged in coverage the few times I saw him there, which he should, since he was a cornerback in 2013. He’s fluid enough for man coverage at the next level and he showed the ability to excel in zone coverage at Louisville.

Based only on game film, Holliman seems like a smart, intuitive player. He reads quarterbacks’ eyes well, has an innate feel for the passing game and understands route concepts better than some of the receivers he faced. In fact, he earned a few interceptions by being where opposing receivers should have been.

Weaknesses

Look, there’s no nice way to say this: Holliman is an awful tackler. He tries to initiate contact, but often lowers his head and usually fails to wrap up. Some think he’s still favoring a shoulder that he injured in 2012.

Holliman was a liability against the run in 2014. He’s disciplined and reads his keys properly, but he took terrible angles and looked like a pinball bouncing off running backs.

Louisville’s website lists Holliman at 6’2” and 213 pounds, but he’s closer to 6’ and looked about 20 pounds lighter. His instincts make up for what looks like a lack of elite speed, so his 40 time will be important. Basically, he looks limited athletically.

Verdict: Day 2 Pick

Holliman’s been compared to former Ravens safety Ed Reed, but no. He’s a ballhawk in the mold of Reed, but he doesn’t have a chance against NFL running backs based on his 2014 tape.

Holliman is worth a third-round pick right now, because he has the ceiling of a very good safety and the floor of a decent cornerback. If his medicals check out, he adds 10-15 good pounds and times well in the 40 and 3-cone at the combine, I'd spend a second-round pick on him.

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