In the wake of the NFL playoffs, Super Bowl XLIII, and Santonio Holmes' play in both, I'm beginning to wonder if Holmes is the next great wide receiver in the NFL. He's young, fast, and has good hands that are getting much better with each passing season.
At 5'11" and weighing in at 192 pounds, Holmes is not the biggest guy on the field, but he makes a big impact. The perceived threat of him just being on the field makes a large impact on its own.
His stats do not show how great he has been in his first three years in the NFL. This is mainly due to sharing catches with veteran Hines Ward, but also the fact that Ben Roethlisberger did not have flashy stats either.
2008-2009 Regular Season—55 catches, 821 yards, and five touchdowns
But the potential is there, just look at his performance in the playoffs.
2008-2009 Playoffs: 13 catches, 226 yards, and two touchdowns
Not as big as Larry Fitzgerald's record-breaking playoff stats, but it was the biggest game where he shined the brightest. In that game, Holmes caught nine balls for 131 yards and a touchdown—the game winning touchdown. Oh, and he won Super Bowl MVP.
He is a threat on special teams now. It is amazing, especially considering his special teams woes in the past. Ask any Steelers fan—just a year or two ago, Santonio Holmes could not field a punt to save his life.
Holmes is the Steelers' big-play deep threat who can change a game in an instant. One example of that is the punt return for a TD in the Steelers-Chargers playoff game.
Another example is the 65-yard touchdown that he had against the Ravens. Ben Roethlisberger was trying to throw it away, Holmes grabbed it, and he ran around the NFL's No. 2 defense to the end zone.
Hines Ward is 32 now and turns 33 in a little over a month. He is getting old, and when he retires—a very sad day in Pittsburgh—Holmes is going to have to take over the top receiver role, and I am completely comfortable because Santonio is a great player.
Forget about the fact that he was busted for marijuana during the season, or the fact that he sold drugs as a kid. All that has been dealt with.
In my mind, Santonio Holmes is the next great receiver in the NFL, and next season is when he will show it. If he continues to get better, broadcasters will stop calling him "San Antonio" Holmes and start getting his name right.