Philadelphia Eagles Should Avoid Drafting Gerod Holliman


The current starters at safety for the Philadelphia Eagles are Malcolm Jenkins and Earl Wolff. Jenkins was able to revive his career in Philly, but Wolff remains unproven and has an injury-checkered past despite being in the league just two years.

As it stands, safety is by far the biggest need for the Eagles and needs to be addressed in the upcoming draft. Unfortunately, it appears that only a very small number of safeties meets the requirements, as the Eagles need an agile player with range and the ability to play “single-high”, which means he has to guard the back end alone, as part of “Cover 1” and “Cover 3” schemes.

Gerod Holliman is definitely not one of those players.

Measurements / College

Holliman is six-feet tall and weighs 218 lbs. He has good arm length for a defensive back (32 inches) and average hand size (9.5 inches). He run the 40-yard dash in Louisville’s pro day and he was clocked around the mid-4.60s and lifted the bench-press bar 17 times at the NFL Scouting Combine.

With the Cardinals, Holliman had 17 passes defended in 2014. His most impressive feat, however, were his 14 interceptions which gave him the Jim Thorpe award as the top defensive back of college football.


I watched him in four games with the Louisville Cardinals and I can say there are many flaws in Holliman’s play.  The games I watched were those against Kentucky, Florida State, Boston College (thanks to for providing the tape) and the Belk Bowl, where the Cardinals were defeated by the Georgia Bulldogs.

Pros and cons

While Holliman has the potential to be a good safety in the NFL, his college tape is not going to help him.

His ball skills are much better than average and this is apparent from his 14 interceptions. When the quarterback doesn’t throw on time or makes a risky throw towards Holliman, the pass is most likely going to end up as an interception. However, Holliman has average recognition skills and play-action froze him or made him too hesitant.

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The reason why he was able to intercept the ball so many times is because when the quarterback takes time to pass, Holliman has the ability to adjust in coverage and then wait a bad-to-average ball come his way. In other words, the 20-year old safety doesn’t do something extraordinary, but he will definitely punish the quarterback who will risk going his way with a less-than-good throw.

The worst part of Holliman’s tape is his tackling. The Philadelphia Eagles fans are familiar with bad tackling from the safety spot, but Holliman takes it to a whole new level of bad. He is constantly approaching the ball carrier with hesitation and doesn’t wrap well enough to bring him to the ground. The result is him either missing the tackle or being dragged until a teammate comes to help and finish the tackle for him.

Additionally, Holliman led with his shoulder too often, even in the oped field, where a missed hit or tackle can cost his team. He has decent range for a safety, but this is not enough if he can’t improve his tackling.

As an Eagle

I wouldn’t trust Holliman in the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive scheme. If he improves his tackling – so he is not a liability against the run – he will get his chance to start for an NFL team. Holliman can definitely produce in “Cover 2” or “Tampa 2” defense as a safety who plays zone coverage and is responsible for half the field.

The Philadelphia Eagles, however, do not play this style of defense. They follow the Seattle Seahawks’ principles, asking their safeties to come in the box in run support or play man coverage against slot receivers and tight ends.

The Birds can afford no more gambles at safety and need to draft someone who is better suited for this role than Holliman.

Next: Post-Free Agency Mock Draft