Khaled Holmes Has A Home On The Colts O-Line
Last Tuesday, I began a series taking a closer look at each player the Indianapolis Colts selected in the 2013 NFL Draft. Today is Khaled Holmes’ turn.
Position/size: Center/ 6 ft. 3 in., 302 lbs.
Collegiate awards: 2012 Rimington Award finalist, 2012 All-Pac-12 first team, 2011 All-Pac-12 second team, 2010 All-Pac-10 honorable mention.
Collegiate stats: Played in 40 career games as both a guard and center: started 37 times.
Strengths: Like fellow offensive lineman draftee Hugh Thornton, Holmes brings a toughness, nastiness and a motor that fits perfectly into new OC Pep Hamilton’s desire for a power running game. The Colts are certainly picking players with the right attitude to bring in a new era of offensive linemen. Holmes’ intelligence will also be a huge plus for the Colts offense. His pre-snap reads help other linemen pick up blitzes and defensive schemes. The combination of awareness between Holmes and Andrew Luck will (hopefully) eventually remind Colts fans of Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning working their magic before every snap.
Weaknesses: Although Holmes’ toughness fits the new running scheme, his style of play might not necessarily gel. He is best suited to play in a zone blocking scheme, so it will be interesting to see how he fits into a power blocking scheme. He’s also a little tall for the center position too. This forces him to bend his knees more than the average center. He doesn’t always do this though, and it causes him to sometimes lose his leverage and fall to the ground far too often.
Best case scenario: Holmes’ toughness and work ethic allow him to seamlessly transition from a zone blocking player to a power run blocking one. This combined with his football intelligence allow him to beat out returning starter, center Samson Satele, building the foundation for one of the top quarterback-center combinations in the league for years to come.
Worst case scenario: Holmes struggles to fit into the running style of the Colts. His inability to properly play with leverage allows NFL defensive linemen to easily have their way with him, and his lack of power makes the coaches think they’d rather give someone else a shot as the future starting center. He’s held on as practice squad player as insurance, but he eventually goes to a team with a zone blocking scheme.
Realistic expectations: Despite the fact his style of play doesn’t necessarily fit into the Colts’ scheme, it’s still fair to expect him to become the starting center by 2014. His work ethic and aggression will help him convert into a power blocker and a couple years with NFL coaching and strength training will help him become stronger and use his leverage better. Intelligence is also a trait that always translates to the next level and Holmes definitely has proved to be sharp.
Quotes: GM Ryan Grigson(via Colts.com): “He started two years at guard and center. He played at a high level. He’s a smart kid, long arms, great maturity. He has his master’s from USC, (has) NFL bloodlines. The kid was so impressive just to talk to, let alone (watching) his film. We like to have guys with position versatility.”
HC Chuck Pagano(via Heraldbulletin.com): “He had that aura about him. He’s a very, very confident kid. I was very impressed with Khaled.”
Holmes(via Colts.com): “I was so, so unbelievably excited and honored to be able to join the organization. I was fortunate enough to visit out there with the team. It’s just a dream come true. Andrew will be the first guy that I block for besides Matt (Barkley). I’m excited to do that. He’s such a great player. He proved himself in the NFL last year. We had some battles with him in college. I’m excited to be on his team now.”