Redskins LB Cole Holcomb an underrated asset in 2020
By Ian Cummings
There’s a glaring lack of proven utility on the Redskins current roster, but some standouts from 2019 should be primed to take another step in 2020.
Specifically, the Washington Redskins got a lot of early contributions from their 2019 rookie draft class. Only two of their ten 2019 selections appeared in zero games in 2019, and the other eight players combined for 99 in-game appearances. Three 2019 rookies played in all sixteen games on the season, and the consistency of one player’s impact stood out above the rest: Fifth-round rookie linebacker Cole Holcomb.
Holcomb started in 15 of 16 possible games in 2019, amassing 105 total tackles, one sack, one interception, and three forced fumbles. He produced this much, and yet he only played around 63 percent of the team’s total defensive snaps on the season.
The raw production never tells the whole story, of course; Holcomb showed a notable lack of instincts and experience in coverage, which negatively compensated for his swift and stable returns as a run defender. He ended the year with a below-average PFF grade of 56.0, and in coverage, he allowed a passer rating of 115.4.
All this said, Holcomb was just a rookie, and a Day 3 rookie at that. His contributions exceeded expectations, and he is a severely underrated asset for the Redskins heading into his second season, now that he’s been united with former linebackers Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio. Holcomb produced at a high clip very early in his career, and now he has the necessary foundation to add new elements to his game, and potentially take a leap as a starter in the linebacking core.
This feels like a good time to remind readers that Holcomb is an insane athlete; at North Carolina’s pro day last year, Holcomb, at 6-foot-1, 241, logged a 4.48 40-yard dash, a 39.5-inch vertical, and an 11-foot broad jump. He has immense potential as an explosive, rangy second-level defender, and his upside is a reminder that while Washington doesn’t have many proven entities on defense, they do have in-house talent to groom and develop, in order to ensure cost efficiency and maximum value in the 2020 NFL Draft.