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2021 Cowboys scouting report: Oregon safety Jevon Holland

This former Ducks star could become a fixture in the Dallas defense.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl - Oregon v Wisconsin Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jevon Holland is another in a long line of player in this year’s draft class who stands to lose a lot of ground in the draft order because of the decision to opt out this past year. Originally from Canada, Holland committed to play for the Ducks and saw ample playing time as a rotational player in his freshman season.

Name: Jevon Holland
Position: S
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 201 lbs

2019 Stats: 14 games, 66 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 4 interceptions, 4 passes defensed

Appearing in all 13 games that season and alternating between both safety positions and some nickel corner duties, Holland finished the year with 42 tackles, five picks, and six pass breakups. That earned him a starting job heading into the 2019 season, where Holland continued to display his rangy athleticism and ballhawk skills.

Many expected Holland to use the 2020 season to cement himself as the top safety in this draft class, and potentially one of the top defenders in the country, but Holland opted out of the season. That resulted in him entering this draft with just 27 career games in college under his belt and only 16 starts in that time frame. It didn’t help that other safeties like Trevon Moehrig and Richie Grant went on to have sensational years, but Holland still has a lot to offer NFL teams.

Coverage Style: Holland did a little bit of everything in his two seasons at Oregon. His first year had defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt running a multiple front hybrid defense that was best described as a 3-3-5 while Andy Avalos took over the defense in 2019 and implemented a slightly more traditional scheme. Holland exceled in both schemes in a variety of roles and assignments. He never really settled into a groove at any one particular spot in coverage, but he showed he can be moved all around the field and still impact the game.

Coverage Skills: Holland is a super rangy safety who has the ability to fly all over the place. He also is a guy that trusts his instincts and has every reason to, as he frequently makes rapid breaks on throws that are developing and gets himself in position to make a play.

Playmaking Ability: Nine interceptions in 27 games, half of which he didn’t even start. Holland has some easily identifiable ball skills and he’s got very soft hands that secure the ball with consistency. Part of this is due to how fluid his hips are when it comes to flipping back around and locating the ball, but it also speaks to his instincts in coverage and pure athleticism.

Athleticism: Holland is just an incredible athlete and it’s evident on the field. He ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, and honestly that seems a bit high for him. He moves so swiftly wherever he is. When playing back deep, whether as a single high or a split safety, he makes up so much ground in such a quick amount of time. When he comes up in the slot, Holland doesn’t surrender any ground to receivers and is able to stick with them throughout the route. He’s a smooth operator at all levels of the field.

Run Support: Holland definitely underwhelms in this area, although he’s not a liability in run defense. He just isn’t a plus run defender, which should limit the amount of snaps he sees in the slot and the box at the next level. He has a good sense of where to be in run defense but just doesn’t seem like someone who wants to be contributing on run defense.

Processing: Holland has great instincts. He does a phenomenal job of reading the field and piecing things together before anyone else can. Half of his interceptions came on plays where he just anticipated where the ball was going before the pass had left the quarterback’s hands. These instincts are present wherever Holland is on the field, giving him added versatility in coverage.

Toughness: He looks passive on run defense at times but he’s not afraid of contact. He doesn’t take plays off or make business decisions. You’d like to see him show more fire in run defense, but Holland - like most defensive backs - conserves his aggression for when the ball is in the air, and has the results to back up that approach.

Intangibles: He is a natural leader on the back end. The fact that he played such an integral role as a true freshman in a complex scheme speaks to his ability to learn a playbook, and by the end of the year he was helping get other guys lined up properly. He did that full time in 2019, and was likely going to being named a team captain last year if he hadn’t opted out.