(Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)
With the 24th pick in the 4th round, the Indianapolis Colts selected Center Khaled Holmes from USC. At 6-3, 302 pounds, Holmes is known more as a crafty, technician on the offensive line than a bruising road grader. His injury and bench reps (13) at the NFL Combine probably didn’t help his draft stock much. He missed time with a leg injury last season, and USC struggled without him. Holmes is known for being a smart, quick, aggressive center who plays to the whistle (more after the jump).
Here’s the overview from his NFL.com Combine profile:
Tenacious player who gets after any defensive lineman in his path – and teammates who aren’t getting the job done. Sustains blocks through the whistle and takes his man backwards and drives them to the ground regularly. Quick feet for his size, can reach second-level targets or get out in front of screens. Hustles to help either guard, or both on the same play, when uncovered. Good mover on zone plays. Uses his hands and bulk to move his man out of the hole. Usually anchors even when his man gets his hands up quickly after the snap. Good student, has already graduated with a double major of classics and communication.
Taller than the average center, doesn’t sit into his stance as low as many in the pivot. Must play with more knee bend, overextends at the waist while engaged and ends up on the ground too often. Does not always recognize inside blitzes, attacks a lineman and allows linebacker to come through the middle without an attempt to slow him down.
Brian De La Puente
This tall, physical, mobile, and intelligent interior lineman first snapped for quarterback Matt Barkley first at Mater Dei High School in California, and then for the Trojans in 2011 and 2012 after starting at guard as a sophomore. Holmes dealt with ankle and leg injuries all season, and the Trojans interior offensive line took a huge step back without him. The senior will need to prove his health since he projects best to a heavy zone blocking scheme.
And his CBS Sports Draft profile:
STRENGTHS: Broad shouldered, quick-footed athlete well-suited to playing any of the three interior positions. Quick off the snap. Shoots his hands into the pads of his opponent and possesses the quick feet and balance to turn and seal off defenders from the action. Good agility when blocking at the second level and has impressive straight-line speed, showcasing the ability to block on the move 10+ yards downfield.
Alert. Keeps his head on a swivel and is competitive, looking to help out his teammates. Tough. Played through a nagging ankle injury throughout much of the 2012 season that earned the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff. Good bloodlines; the younger brother of former USC tight end Alex Holmes, who played for the Miami Dolphins in 2005. Highly intelligent. Earned his Master's Degree in Communications in 2012 with a 3.31 GPA.
WEAKNESSES: Struggles against power and may be limited to zone-blocking schemes in the NFL. Was too often pushed deep into the pocket by bigger, explosive defenders (including, but not limited to Utah's Star Lotulelei) in 2012 and may be viewed as strictly as offensive guard convert at the next level.
Plays high too often, losing the leverage battle and making himself weaker than his size and weight-room strength would indicate. Spends too much time on the ground. Struggled with leg injuries in 2012 that will need to be investigated by NFL teams.
COMPARES TO: Peter Konz, OG, Atlanta Falcons — Like the former Wisconsin center, Holmes' ultimate pro position could be guard. While he possesses the intelligence to remain on the pivot and has started every game of his collegiate career at this position (just as Konz did), Holmes' athleticism and lack of ideal power in his base could necessitate a move to the outside.
Khaled Holmes videos – watch for number 78, snapping to Matt Barkley
This guy might be a bit of a finesse blocker. He doesn’t seem to match the power running game well, but there has been talk of running some zone blocking schemes this year, too. As far as his technique and his length, this kid looks like a potentially good NFL lineman who may just need to hit the weight room a little more. Keep in mind, though, these draft profiles don’t tell the whole story. If they did, former Colts Center Jeff Saturday would have never played professional football.
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