Continuing the countdown of the top 40 players on the Atlanta Falcons with the team’s 35th best player: offensive tackle Lamar Holmes.
To read about the methodology in how these rankings came about, you can click here.
Total Score: 42.5/100
Last year’s rank: 28th
Player Grade: 48/100
Teams he is starter: 4 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 0 out of 32
Teams he is role player: 19 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +4
Positional Bonus: +3
While Holmes has shown some growth over the past three years, he’s really only grown into a backup-caliber player.
Holmes began last season as the team’s starting right tackle and while competent in pass protection, struggled throughout the first month as a run-blocker. He showed that despite his considerably girth of over 330 pounds, that he still lacked a critical power element to his game.
With the transition to the zone-blocking scheme under new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Holmes at his surplus size looked miscast since the scheme prefers lighter, quicker blockers, which was never Holmes’ forte.
Yet Holmes was successful this offseason in slimming down to around 310 pounds. However Holmes’ transformation was sidetracked by the third major foot injury he’s suffered in less than four years. It is the same foot he broke last year that caused him to miss the final 12 games of the year and now that same foot has put his Falcon career in jeopardy.
Even though Holmes had cut the weight this offseason, it was no guarantee that his blocking would be up to par even if healthy at the lower weight. Thus Holmes really needed to have a strong summer to solidify a roster spot in the final year of his rookie contract.
Yet even if Holmes’ play wasn’t good enough to land a second contract with the Falcons, it would at least give him something to show other teams that may seek to sign him as a free agent next spring. But with Holmes being sidelined indefinitely with this foot injury, he may never get that opportunity.
The best-case scenario for Holmes’ outlook at this point in 2015 is to potentially begin the season on the Falcons’ PUP list, rehab strong and hopefully return in the second half of the season as the team’s swing tackle. Hopefully the Falcons starting tackles can stay healthy throughout the year, but if not, then perhaps Holmes could step in more ably than a player like Tyler Polumbus could by that point in the year.