5. LB Cole Holcomb
I gave a lot of thought about who to include at the No. 5 spot on this list. I wanted it to be a defender and considered a bunch of players on the defensive line and Jimmy Moreland.
But ultimately, I settled on Cole Holcomb on being a player that could create some fireworks in 2020. And there are a few reasons for that.
Holcomb, a fifth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, emerged as a starter almost immediately for the Redskins. He played in all 16 games and made 15 starts while paired with Jon Bostic as the primary inside linebacker duo. And for a Day 3 rookie, Holcomb showed some bright spots.
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Holcomb was able to use his speed well to make plays. He wasn’t perfect in coverage and did have some issues with missed tackles on the campaign. But generally speaking, he showed that he was solid. He made 105 tackles and forced three fumbles. So, his instinctive ability to make big plays plus his speed gives him potential.
There are areas that Holcomb needs to clean up. But he could be poised to do that under this new coaching staff. Both Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio were linebackers during their playing days and they are some of the most respected defensive minds in football. They have the expertise needed to unlock Holcomb’s high ceiling. If they can harness his athleticism and help him shore up his tackling, his contributions will certainly improve.
Holcomb figures to fit well in a 4-3 defense and has the potential to eventually emerge as a starter on the outside. His speed should make him more of a weapon in coverage and if he can continue to make splash plays, Rivera and Del Rio will position him to d that frequently.
Don’t be surprised to see Holcomb make a leap and become the team’s most productive and well-rounded linebacker. Again, it will depend on him improving under new coaching, but he should have a chance to do that in 2020.