James Holt, OLB, Kansas

Scouting Reports of inside and outside linebackers in the 2009 NFL Draft
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James Holt, OLB, Kansas

Postby Pudge » Sat Jun 11, 2011 4:38 am

James Holt
6-2/223 Kansas
4.72 Senior

Pros: Has good speed and range that works well in space. Is comfortable in coverage and has good hips and quickness. Better at the point of attack than you'd expect from a player his size. Is a capable pass rusher with ability to turn corner.

Cons: Lacks ideal speed to make plays sideline to sideline. Needs to improve at the point of attack. Not really a good run stopper and lacks closing burst on the ball.

Overview: Holt is a capable college player that offers versatility for the next level. Played OLB and often covered receivers in the slot, as well as playing as an end in passing situations. Led team in tackles as a senior and was productive with 97 tackles and 7 sacks. His father, Steve McKeaver, was drafted by the Bengals in 1984, but never played.

NFL Forecast: He made most of his impact on passing downs, and I think he can do the same at the next level. As a linebacker, he'll be a nice weakside linebacker that can work as a nickel guy on passing downs. He's a capable pass rusher considering his size, but not really big enough to play in the 3-4 scheme. But I think if he is going to develop into a solid starter, then it might come at strong safety. He has the ability in coverage to make the transition there and has the size and speed to be capable there. He's good enough in coverage that it won't be a huge transition for him unlike most tweeners that make the move in the pros. Either way, I think Holt will manage to stick at the next level as a valuable backup. He has starting potential, but better at safety than at weakside linebacker.

ATL Forecast: Holt could impact the Falcons as a reserve weakside linebacker. He'd be a project as a strong safety so he wouldn't be the answer the team is looking for as they want more immediate help. But down the road, with a few years of development he could work there. By then, the Falcons probably would have found a suitable starter. But he could be a nice backup there that makes an impact on special teams. More than likely, the Falcons would keep him in the box as a backup linebacker. He's a similar player to Coy Wire, who also was a tweener coming into the NFL, but he's more polished in coverage than Wire was coming out of Stanford. So he has the chance to quickly pass Wire as the team's top backup linebacker within a year or two.

Value: Because he'd be limited as a starter, he's only worth a late round pick. But his ability to be a capable reserve player at either linebacker or safety makes him a nice seventh round project.
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