2021 NFL Draft Player Preview: Jevon Holland

  • Jevon Holland, 6-1/200

  • Safety

  • Oregon

  • Jevon Holland 2020 Preview
    By Charlie Campbell

    Career Recap: It can be hard for freshman to become instant starters and playmakers in college football. They are competing against players who are 2-3 years older and have spent more time in the strength and conditioning programs for the more physically demanding level of play. Holland was an exception to the trend, breaking out as a star defensive back in his first season for the Ducks. He totaled five interceptions with six passes broken up and 44 tackles for 2018. As a sophomore, he improved his tackle production to 66 while continuing to make plays in pass coverage with four interceptions and four passes broken up. He also averaged 15.3 yards per punt return in 2019.

    2020 Season Outlook: Unfortunately, the best opponent on Holland's 2020 schedule has already been canceled, with the Ducks' Week 2 game against Ohio State falling victim to COVID-19. It would have been great to see Holland defend Buckeyes dual-threat quarterback Justin Fields and star receiver Chris Olave. Now the best quarterback on Holland's Pac-12 schedule is USC's Kedon Slovis. Overall, Holland will see some quality talent in the Pac-12 as a junior.

    Skill-Set Summary: Immediately when watching Oregon, it becomes apparent that Holland is an excellent athlete and is very fast. With his speed, athleticism and versatility, Holland could get consideration to play some cornerback or even contribute on offense. While he has a lot of physical talent to do a variety of things, the best plan to maximize his ability could be to keep him at safety and let him excel at his natural position.

    Holland is a real weapon in pass coverage, although what will get NFL evaluators really excited is his ability to run with receivers in coverage. Holland shows the ability to pick them up downfield and blanket them in the deep part of the field. He is fast and has the speed to run with wideouts vertically. Thanks to his size, Holland possesses some ability to cover big receivers, and while Holland does not have great height or length, he is a competitor who finds a way to be effective.

    In zone coverage, Holland has good instincts and quality route-recognition. He displays good vision to read the eyes of the quarterback and sees receivers well to pick them up coming into his area. Holland uses his speed, vision and instincts to be a rangy safety in zone coverage who covers a lot of ground in the middle of the field. He also has a burst to close on receivers and uses that second gear speed to jump routes and make plays on the ball. Holland has very good ball skills and is a dangerous threat to pick off passes. He is a true ball hawk on the back end.

    Holland is a willing run defender as well, using his speed to come downhill in a blur and make tackles. While Holland is not the biggest of safeties, he does not hesitate to get physical and will deliver some hard hits. For the NFL, it would help him to gain some weight and strength to tackle pro backs. That weight could also help him with durability.

    For added value, Holland is an excellent special teams player who has been a dangerous returner and a good contributor on coverage units. He probably won't be the starting punt or kick returner at the pro level due to the injury risk, but he could contribute by returning in clutch situations or help his team close out a game if there is an injury to the primary returner. Similarly, Holland could be on some coverage units but it would be better to save him for the defense.

    In the NFL, Holland could be an interchangeable safety who plays strong or free safety. Free safety is his best fit because his size is not a good fit at strong safety. Even though he has been durable for Oregon, he could end up having injury issues if he is constantly the eighth man in the box taking on pro linemen, tight ends, and running backs in the ground game. Early in his pro career, Holland looks capable of being a difference-maker and a starting free safety in the NFL.

    2021 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering his junior year, Holland looks like a potential first-round pick for the 2020 NFL Draft.



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