2019 Raiders Draft Profile
Name: Cole Holcomb
School: The University of North Carolina
Weight: 231 pounds
Draft Projection: Day 3
While Holcomb ran a 4.48 at his pro day, he actually played fast on film. Yet, ignore the numbers. He used effective speed and burst to close on the ball. As a blitzer, there is little hesitation, with strong yet quick strides; Holcomb gets to the line of scrimmage in a hurry.
With vision and timing, Holcomb anticipates the direction of the pass and traces the route, meeting the receiver at the catch point. On top of that, if the pass is late, he will step in front of it and knock the ball away. Sporting both a natural flow to the ball and twelve batted passes, Holcomb can handle the task of coverage with athleticism and technique.
While not the largest linebacker, Holcomb brings force and technique to the target. First, he stays coiled, body weight and hands in perfect position. Regardless of play direction, Holcomb takes the proper angle. Meanwhile, his ability to jar/rip the ball loose could be one of his better traits. After forcing four fumbles in 2018 alone, Holcomb presents an uncanny knack for dislodging the ball.
Despite playing for an awful North Carolina team, Holcomb persevered. Week after week, facing dominant teams, he never retreated. That is to say, he loves the game. With the transfer portal an option, Holcomb stayed in Chapel Hill.
For the better part of a decade, the Raiders lacked linebacker depth. More importantly, they failed at bringing in linebackers that can cover. For years, backs and tight ends feasted on woefully slow linebackers that could not stay close. Holcomb gives the Raiders an option in either Day 3 or as a UDFA that could give the back end of the rotation a serious boost. With his talent, quickness, and nose for coverage, Oakland could find themselves with a gem. Granted, he may not see starter snaps early, his playmaking could net subpackage looks. At the very least, the Raiders could count on Holcomb as a special teams standout while he learns the nuances of the NFL. Either way, his selection/signing does nothing but enhance the defensive talent.