By Adam Aniba
Washington has been in need of cornerback depth and surprised some fans by waiting until their 7th rounder (#240) to select one. Head Coach Ron RIvera and GM Martin Mayhew followed a distinct blueprint this offseason. Investing in experience has been imperative for this regime, with many of their draft picks and UDFA selections/signings having played 4-6 college ball. Oklahoma State cornerback and Missouri transfer, Christian Holmes played in 48 career games and had some of his biggest moments during his time in the SEC.
As mentioned, with depth being a concern behind William Jackson and Kendall Fuller, Holmes will get a legit opportunity to make the 53-man roster. Rivera has kept all of his draft picks since arriving in washington, so Holmes has that going for him.
He'll be competing with Benjamin St-Juste, Danny Johnson and others for snaps in training camp. At 6'1" 205 lbs, Holmes is a physical presence in the defensive backfield and can be an asset on the special teams coverage unit.
6'1" 205 lbs | CB | OKL ST
Career Stats Mizz (24 games) 66 total tak (52 solo), 2 int, 16 PD (12 in '18)
Career Stats Okl St (10 games) 24 total tak (18 solo), 1 int, 5 PD & 2 TFLs
2021 (14 games) 39 total tak (33 solo), 1 int, 1 PD & 1 sack
Holmes grew up in Atlanta, GA attending McNair HS playing WR, DB and QB. Holmes was the definition of a late bloomer in high school, not playing organized football until his junior year. The 3-star recruit recorded 640 receiving yards on 30 receptions duirng his senior season. His perfmance earned him a spot on the All-Area team and 1st- Team All-District, which led to an invite to the Georgia High School All-Star Game.
Holmes was courted by Missouri, Cincinnati, Memphis, Georgia State, and Kent State. Holmes always believed he had the skill set to play in the SEC and committing to Missouri was a no brainer.
In an interview with rockmnation.com after commiting to Missouri, Holmes discussed his pre-game ritual.
"Before I leave the house, I have to wake up to my daily stretch, followed by looking over my competition one last time. Pregame I have to get the love of my life written on my tape and I have to place a tootsie roll in my socks. I have to eat my pack of fruit snacks and have the song War on repeat!"
During his true freshman season in'16, Holmes only saw the field for 2 games. His role was primarily on special teams and as a rotational defensive back, recording 1 tackle and 1 pass defended. During a June '17 scrimmage Holmes suffered a shoulder injury, which required surgery, essentially ending his sophomore season before it began.
His '18 season would be his best for the Tigers, playing in 12 games and displaying no lasting effects from his surgery. Holmes registered 2 interceptions with 12 passes defended and 1 touchdown, which dispclayed how far he'd come as a defensive back.
Holmes was active for every game from 2018- 2019, starting a total of 12 games between the two. The '19 season was cut short due to the COVID pandemic, but still had 4 defended passes and 2.5 tackles for a loss. The Tigers continued to use the defensive back in a rotational role, limiting opportunities for Holmes. The Mizzou DB earned his degree and would transfer to Oklahoma State as a graduate transfer for the '20 season.
As a graduate, he was eligible to play immediately. Holmes registered 5 passes defended in 10 games during his first season with the Cowboys, playing a as a true cornerback.
During his Super Senior season, Holmes added to his resume with a career-best 39 tackles, helping him earn a spot on the All-Big 12 second team.
Excels in zone coverage, but also displayed the instincts and athleticism to be effective in man coverage
Extremely aggressive attacking the ball carrier, always looking for the strip
A special teams ace who was an asset with the return coverage unit
Good hand usage, not often will he draw PI/illegal contact (doesn't get grabby)
Displays the speed & physicality to be an effective NFL outside DB in time (rotational role/subpackages)
Asset in run support and can lay the wood
Choppy back pedal and too upright at times, needs to drop his hips to effectively transition
Doesn't lack quickness, but struggles to make up ground in coverage, if loses site of the receiver
Although can lay the wood as an effective tackler, needs to refine his technique and show more patience letting plays develop
Can struggle if on an island and too often relies on backend support
When targeted on deep routes, gave up too much ground leading too many chunk plays given up
Long speed is suspect and even though clocked 4.43 forty, he's at his best playing underneath routes
Holmes could have an uphill battle, getting extended snaps with more experienced corners ahead of him. The cornerback has the speed, physicality and the ability as a special teamer to make the squad as a the 5th cornerback. Danny Johnson has impressed coaches and he seems like the potential last cornerback that will make the final roster. Like Holmes, Johnson has also shown to be valuable on special teamer.
The Oklahoma State cornerback had his best season playing in SEC in '18. If Holmes can regain that form, he'll have a chance to impress coaches during the pre-season and show his progression in coverage and vs the run. Washington seems to always be dealing with injuries in the defensive back room (St-Juste 2 concussions in '21), so Holmes' time could come sooner rather than later.
*Games Watched- 10/20/18 vs Memphis, 11/2/18 vs UF, 9/18/21 vs Kansas St, 10/16 vs UT, 10/23 vs Iowa St, 11/13 vs TCU, 11/20 vs Texas Tech. 12/4 vs Baylor and 1/1/22 vs ND (Fiesta Bowl)