Let’s check out the 27th-ranked player in offensive tackle Lamar Holmes. Click here to try and get a handle on the scoring system.
Total Score: 45
Player Grade: 48 out of 100
Teams he could start for: 5 out of 32
Teams he is best position player: 0 out of 32
Teams he could find role on: 23 out of 32
Peak-Year Bonus: +4
Positional Bonus: +3
The Falcons see Holmes as the future at right tackle, although he’s currently embroiled in a battle with Mike Johnson for the starting spot here in Atlanta. History suggests that the player that enters camp as the starter will emerge from camp as the starter. That has been the case every year under Mike Smith when there has been a camp competition. The only possible exception would be Sam Baker “unseating” Quinn Ojinnaka during the 2008 camp. But that’s a stretch considering I don’t think the Falcons at any point that off-season or summer really thought Ojinnaka was a legit candidate to win the starting job. He was merely a placeholder until Baker was ready.
I thought Holmes was fairly raw when we drafted him a year ago. He looked to be the type of tackle that is normally taken in the fifth or sixth round because while he possesses starting potential, it’s probably going to take him the better part of three years before he can reach it. And typically, when it comes to players taken in the third round and earlier, you want that player starting and producing by the end of his second season at the latest. That is still a possibility with Holmes, but again if he doesn’t beat out Johnson this summer and spends another year as the swing tackle just affirms my post-draft assessment that the Falcons reached on him. But that reach doesn’t mean that he can’t eventually develop into a very good player for the team in 2014 and beyond. While Johnson might win the starting spot, his play this year will determine whether he gets a long-term deal after the season or not. If he doesn’t earn one, then the right tackle spot will certainly be Holmes’ job to lose come next season. And basically then Holmes will have two years to prove he’s worthy of a long-term deal in the hopes that he becomes the next Tyson Clabo or Todd Weiner-esque fixture at the spot.
Despite having only really played in one NFL game, Holmes ranks fairly high on the Falcons thanks in part to the fact that there are several weak right tackles in the league. And I believe Holmes despite his rawness could probably start for a number of NFL teams today, simply because he has more upside than some of these other starting right tackles. Holmes is also helped by the fact that he could easily be a swing tackle on the majority of NFL teams.
He possesses good size and athleticism for a man as big as he is. He’s much lighter on his feet that you’d expect at first glance. The key for Holmes is developing more power and explosiveness in his game. He was very lumbering and slow in his movements last summer. In his lone action last year in mop-up duty against the Giants, he appeared much quicker and explosive. That gives me hope that he’s improved in that regard. Size is an asset in the NFL, but if you cannot combine it with quickness, explosiveness, and power as an offensive lineman, then it really doesn’t count for much. Let’s hope this summer we see all of those things in Holmes’ game. If so, then he stands an excellent shot at breaking from history and being the first to win a starting spot outright upfront.