The Vikings drafted DL Jalyn Holmes with the second pick in the fourth round, moving down and out of the third round prior to doing so.
Holmes was something of an unheralded prospect, kind of lost among a host of other higher profile defensive linemen at Ohio State like the Bosa brothers, Sam Hubbard, and Tyquan Lewis. But Holmes quietly put together a steadily improving body of work at OSU, if not impressive sack totals, given he wasn’t a starter until his senior year and there were some other good pass rushers along the defensive line with him. His role and scheme at OSU also didn’t lend itself to high sack numbers either.
But projecting ahead to the next level, and based on comments from Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer, Holmes may fit in the Vikings scheme as a backup left defensive end behind Danielle Hunter, who would also move inside in sub-packages as a situational pass rusher.
In this role, he could supplant Brian Robison and Stephen Weatherly, who have filled this role in the past.
Analyzing Jalyn Holmes’ Game
Holmes is a more traditionally sized LDE in a 4-3 scheme- 6’5”, 283 lbs., with 34” arms. At Ohio State, Holmes played mainly defensive end, but switched sides with some regularity, and also had some snaps inside as a defensive tackle. In general, Holmes shows a lot of play strength, but not the speed and athleticism you like to see from a defensive end. That translates into a pretty good game against the run, but not so much as a pass rusher.
Holmes does have a nice spin move, illustrated below, but he’ll need to add more to his toolkit to be effective as a pass rusher in the NFL. Using his hands and arm length to maximum effect may be one of the things Andre Patterson can help him improve.
On the other hand, while Holmes definitely has the strength to hold his own inside, he does seem to lack the burst and quickness that many top interior rushers use to their advantage. That being the case, he may need to focus on his hand, arm and foot work, maybe adding a swim move to go with his spin, and continuing to improve his bull rush and use of leverage to collapse the pocket.
With Brian Robison in his last year, and some talk he may not play it out, Holmes could compete with Stephen Weatherly, who so far has not stood out, for a backup/situational job behind Danielle Hunter at left end. I don’t see him as a starter at either DE or DT, but you never know how he may develop.
Here are some illustrations of Jalyn Holmes in action:
Holmes used his spin move to get the sack at the Senior Bowl:
Ohio State DE Jalyn Holmes with the SACK pic.twitter.com/qLOyaTUeBo— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) January 27, 2018
He can also use that spin move inside against less athletic interior linemen with shorter arms, like he did here against Will Hernandez:
Ohio State’s Jalyn Holmes with a nice spin move on UTEPs Will Hernandez. Hernandez has work to do in pass pro. pic.twitter.com/maJcZzIDvy— patrick (@PatDStat) January 24, 2018