With their seventh and final pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected South Carolina outside linebacker DeVonte Holloman. Dallas has a number of players fighting to play outside next to Sean Lee and Bruce Carter—including veterans Justin Durant and Ernie Sims—and Holloman will be in that mix.
It’s worth noting that Holloman actually played the first three years of his South Carolina career as a safety. He was a highly recruited prep player who started for the Gamecocks as a freshman. That sort of hybrid player is exactly what you’d expect new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to target at the outside linebacker position.
Holloman never totaled more than 69 tackles in any season, and that came in 2010 as a sophomore. When Holloman moved to outside linebacker as a senior, he recorded 59 tackles, but he also added eight tackles-for-loss—a career-high—and two sacks. Holloman ended his South Carolina career with seven interceptions.
At 6'2", 243 pounds, Holloman is a prototypical 4-3 outside linebacker. He’s limited in what he can do; he’ll probably be best suited playing as a weak-side backer, although I have a feeling the Cowboys will give him a shot at the Sam spot to start. For the most part, Holloman turned in subpar measurables: a 4.71 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical and 9'5" broad jump. However, he also interestingly recorded a 4.26 short shuttle; that’s a really fast time for someone his size and could indicate some short-area quickness.
Despite his small stature, Holloman is decent against the run. He doesn’t take on and shed blocks but instead maneuvers around blockers to find the football. He’s a “chase” linebacker who can do some damage when he’s turned loose, but he’s not going to consistently win at the point-of-attack. He takes good angles to the football, however, and shows solid play-recognition.
Holloman is a high-motor player who never takes a play off. That’s a trait important to Jason Garrett and Monte Kiffin. Despite the time at safety, though, Holloman is somewhat stiff in coverage. He had fewer than two picks per season and a limited number of splash plays, so it’s fair to question his play-making ability.
Fit in Dallas
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Holloman won’t make the team in 2013. I think he’s a decent player, but I really like the Cowboys’ veteran linebackers. As it stands right now, the Cowboys already have Alex Albright, Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, Sean Lee, Ernie Sims and Caleb McSurdy. It’s unclear how many linebackers they’ll keep, but Holloman’s roster spot isn’t a given as a sixth-round pick.