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NFL Draft Breakdown: Louisville’s Gerod Holliman

Gerod Holliman, Free Safety, University of Louisville 

Height: 6’0″ (From Team Site)
Weight: 218 lbs (From team site)
Year: rJr

Trait Notes:
Instincts – B-
Discipline – D+
Technique – D
Coverage Diversity – C-
Speed – B-
Burst – B-
Agility – B-
Tackling – D-
Size – C+
Overall Current Grade – C-
Overall Ceiling Grade – B-

Instincts, Discipline and Coverage Diversity.

Holliman is a very instinctual player that tends to get over aggressive in coverage. Holliman reads the quarterbacks eyes and does a good job anticipating where the ball is going. As a run defender, Holliman is tentative among other things that we’ll get into shortly.

Discipline is one of the bigger issues I see with Holliman’s game. Holliman will bite on play fakes and is hyper-aggressive to a detriment at times. There are plays where Holliman is best served bracing to make a tackle and will instead gamble too hard on the interception. Against the run, Holliman takes poor angles and doesn’t always fill his gap as needed and will get lost in the play.

When it comes to technique, Holliman needs a pretty good overhaul with his play style. Holliman does not wrap up when tackling, tends to get too handsy in man coverage and struggles with leverage. Holliman has the look of a raw athlete with ball skills thrown out at safety. This will need some major correcting.

Holliman does offer good versatility in coverage. Holliman can line up and play the tight end in the slot, sit back in zone or come up and play press. Holliman is a good zone player where he is allowed to sit back and keep his eyes on the quarterback. As mentioned, Holliman shows good instincts and plays the ball well. Zone is where Holliman is best suited early on while he gets better technique in man coverage. Holliman is a good mover in open space and shows the ability to backpedal and get into his assigned zone with little wasted movement.

Speed,  Burst and Agility.

Holliman has adequate speed for the position and maximizes that speed by limiting his wasted movements. Holliman is not an elite speed guy at safety by any stretch and his instincts as a whole aid him more than his athleticism.

Holliman shows good burst out of his back pedal to come forward to the ball. When breaking out of his back pedal to a full on sprint he shows good loose hips and drives well with the lower half. One thing remains consistent about Holliman as a pure athlete, he possesses some good qualities but is far from an elite specimen.

Holliman displays above average agility and change of direction during the play. When making transitional movements he does so seamlessly but not with the same urgency as a corner. When working in crowded areas, in particular against the run, Holliman tends to tighten up and looses his wiggle while beginning to hesitate a bit.

Size and Tackling.

Holliman has good but not great measurables standing right at 6 foot and just under 220 lbs. Holliman won’t get much bigger in the NFL and given his strengths in coverage, he should transition decently there. Holliman is a struggling tackler but not for lack of size, much more for lack of effort and technique.

Tackling is a bit of a foreign word for Holliman. Holliman tackles much like the players in the old NFL Blitz video games in that he’d rather throw his shoulder into the defender than square up and tackle. Holliman led all FBS safeties in missed tackle percentage (On the wrong end, had highest percent of tackles missed and/or broken). Holliman has nearly zero technique in this area of his game.

Where does Holliman need to improve?

Holliman needs to improve a good bit in several key areas. The most glaring issue is his tackling and it doesn’t take long to see that issue show up in games. If it’s an issue in college, it will most assuredly be a major issue in the NFL. On top of his issues with tackling, Holliman lacks self discipline when the ball is in the air. Holliman has one thing on his mind and that’s intercepting the pass. While ball hawking abilities are a big time asset in the NFL, knowing when to go for the pick and jump the route versus staying home to ensure a play is made is just as important. Holliman also struggles with play action and biting hard on fakes. Teaching someone to love tackling is a daunting task, mix that with Holliman’s struggles with discipline and you have a recipe for how to be a possible day three pick despite the interception numbers Holliman put up.

Where does Gerod Holliman fit with the Bucs?

The Buccaneers are lacking good coverage guys at safety, in particular ones that can create turnovers consistently which is a big asset in the Tampa 2 defense. Holliman has those skills but needs a lot of polishing elsewhere in his game. As a day three or late 3rd round pick, Holliman could come in and learn behind the likes of Chris Conte, Major Wright and Bradley McDougald who all now have varying degrees of experience in this very defense. Holliman is not NFL ready at this point in time but a player with his instincts could be an asset down the road. Overall, Holliman comes in at a 7.0 overall for me which puts him as a 4th round prospect for me.

Short Term Outlook:

Developmental player that could use work on special teams to help advance his tackling.

Long Term Outlook:

Starter potential with natural instincts and plus coverage ability. Will take time to get up to speed with the NFL game.

Draft Prediction:

Late 3rd, early 4th round pick.

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