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On April 8th, it was announced that Valentine Holmes would be heading out to the New York Jets. Holmes will be one of four players assigned to AFC East teams due to the International Talent Pathway. At 23-years old and labeled at 6’1″, 200 pounds, Holmes has been quietly learning the game of American football. On his scout day, he showed that he has the means to play.
Holmes worked out as a running back and wide receiver in front of scouts from all 32 teams two weeks ago prior to heading back to Australia. He debuted as a solid route runner, with decent hands and quick acceleration. In saying that, Holmes’ 40-yard dash and 3-cone drill raised some eyebrows.
According to the results provided by his agent, Valentine Holmes ran a 4.45 40-yard dash, while he ran a 6.7-6.8 3-cone drill. That would put Holmes at a tie for 2nd in the NFL Combine results from this year. In the 3-cone drill, Holmes would rank 1st among prospects.
Holmes has already expressed his desire to burst into the league as a kick returner, something former NRL player and fellow Australian Jarryd Hayne did with the San Francisco 49ers a few years back. While Hayne offered strength, he struggled to adjust to the game. Holmes offers plenty more for a New York Jets team that is looking to come around after a tough 2018 season.
Growing up playing as a winger, Holmes needed to be able to time his run to ensure that he would collect the inside pass while on the fly. His ability to read the game means that he will be able to pick up defensive schemes and ensure that he can adjust as necessary. In saying that, there may be room on the New York Jets as a potential upcoming wide receiver.
Holmes has the footwork and acceleration to run in the slot; more likely in fade routes, as well as slants coming inside. His ability to catch and keep his stride makes him a threat on deep routes and cuts inside.
That leads us on to his preferred position as a kick returner. We have already mentioned his hands, which puts him in a prime spot to push into the 53-man roster. A quick step and a small gap is all that Holmes needs to get behind the defense and through for a massive return, similar to the potential of Jarryd Hayne.
The potential to be a third-down change of pace back could be of value as well with how quick Holmes is. The addition of Le’Veon Bell means that the Jets have a 3-down back on their hands, but Holmes still provides value nonetheless.
There has only been one other NRL player who has even got this far, and that was the aforementioned Jarryd Hayne. While the comparisons are there, Jets fans should allow for Holmes to go about his own way.
Hayne created a media circus, but the 27-year old couldn’t make the most of his opportunity. With Holmes listed 3 years younger, his potential is that much greater. This allows for Holmes to ease into the game and learn at his own pace, with perhaps a practice squad position with his name on it in certain circumstances.
If Holmes is given time to wrap his head around the game, learn the offensive scheme of the Jets, and pick the brains of the men at the organization, he has every chance of being a solid player in New York.
Featured Image: Fox Sports