Cowboys Draft Prospects: Andre Holmes

Yesterday, our series on potential draft prospects took a gander at Abilene Christian's speedy wideout Edmund Gates, who is scheduled to drop by Valley Ranch on Monday morning. For this installment, we'll take a look at another WR prospect, Andre Holmes, who is joining Gates during his visit. Holmes attended little-known Hillsdale College, the same institution that produced the Raiders' 2010 third rounder, OT Jared Veldheer. Last season, Holmes put together the most productive season of any wide receiver in Hillsdale's 119-year history. He set single-season school records for receptions (104), and receiving yards (1,368), caught 11 touchdown passes and, in the process of doing so, had five 100-yard receiving games, notching more than 126 yards in each of them (he averaged an impressive 114 yards per game). Moreover, he established a single-game record of 16 receptions, in the team's first-round playoff game; his 208 receiving yards in that same game were the second-most in a game in school history.

As these numbers might suggest, Holmes received first-team league honors, and was a Division II All-American honorable mention. In fact, Holmes had 30 more receptions and 468 more receiving yards than any other player in his conference. Although Holmes doesn't have Gates' ability to stretch a defense, he does have an intriguing explosiveness (10'10" broad jump) to go with his terrific size (6-3, 203), and excellent quickness for a player his size (as evidenced by his superb 6.69 time in the three cone drill). Video coverage of his Combine workout can be found here.

Although he hasn't received the kind of interest that Gates has, the Cowboys aren't the only team that's taken notice. The Patriots, who are clearly on the lookout for big receivers, worked out Holmes earlier this offseason. Curiously, the Cowboys and Patriots seem to be interested in a lot of the same players. This is a good thing insofar as the Pats player profile--smart, team-oriented types--is the kind that I wish the Cowboys were more often attracted to; this is bad news because New England has so many picks that they are likely to snap up most of the players Dallas likes!

What has caught the attention of the Garretts and Belichicks of the world? See what top scouting types say about Holmes after the jump...

The Sporting News (Russ Lande) no ranking available

Holmes jumped off the film last year when we were scouting Hillsdale OT Jared Veldheer, a third-round pick of the Raiders who already has become a solid NFL starter. Holmes (6-4, 203) performed even better in '10, catching 104 passes for 1,368 yards and 11 touchdowns. Holmes is a tall receiver with explosive quickness and home-run speed who can turn short passes into big plays. He was more consistent in '10, making big plays in key situations. He certainly will be at least a late-round pick, but he could fly up boards in the spring with some standout pre-draft workouts.

Pro Football Weekly (Nolan Nawrocki) 51st-rated WR; overall unknown (not in top 150 players).

Positives: Outstanding size-speed ratio. Has long arms and terrific body length with a frame to add bulk. Surprising foot quickness. Eats up cushion and covers ground with long, fluid strides. Good hands. Runs through the catch. Outstanding two-year production. Broad jumped 10 feet, 10 inches at the Combine and posted a time of 6.69 seconds in the 3-cone drill.

Negatives: Small hands. Has a wiry build and needs to improve functional strength-vulnerable to the jam and can be bumped off his routes. Average suddenness and explosiveness-too many catches are contested. Adequate route runner in need of polish-needs to learn to sink his hips and sell patterns. Limited after catch. Not a physical blocker. Exhibits a track mentality, could stand to play with more intensity and has some underachiever traits. Faced marginal competition. Looked overwhelmed and out of place weaving and getting beat up by the ball in the gauntlet drill at the Combine.

Summary: Small-school, height-weight-speed prospect who did not dominate marginal competition like his measurables suggest he should have and does not have a special-teams mentality. Is not strong or explosive and will have to adjust to the speed and physicality of the pro game to make it.

Neither Gary Horton of ESPN's Scouts, Inc. nor the National Football Post's Wes Bunting have posted evaluations of Holmes. That said, they do have him on their WR rankings, and seem to agree. Horton rates him as the 43rd best WR; Bunting puts him 41st. Neither of these would be draftable grades--but I think this is largely a byproduct of where he played. With his impressive height-size-speed ratio I'd bet that at least some NFL teams have him on their boards. I'm going to say that Dallas is thinking they'll have to spend one of their two seventh round choices on him if they want to keep him away from New England. That's where I'm going to place him.

Next: Louisville RB Bilal Powell

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