They say that it’s not about the size of the dog in the fight; rather, it’s about the size of the fight in the dog.
There may not be a better way to encapsulate rookie defensive back Darnay Holmes, the NY Giants’ recent 4th-round draft choice out of UCLA.
When watching his film, it’s clear that the versatile rookie gives it his all whether he’s in pursuit, at the line of scrimmage, or fighting for positioning on a route.
Though Holmes has had his fair share of mishaps, including some missed tackles and a costly illegal contact penalty in the Giants’ Week 3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, there is legitimate reason to be excited about the rookie’s potential as a quality NFL defensive back.
Holmes’ first and only penalty of the year occurred on a third down with a tied score, ultimately extending the drive and allowing the 49ers to capitalize with a touchdown just a few plays later. Moreover, it is likely that opposing quarterbacks will continue to pick on Holmes for the time being, due to his limited size, length and vertical skills.
However, as he proved throughout a matchup against the division rival Dallas Cowboys in Week 5, the 5-foot-10, 195-pounder has promise, and plays bigger than his frame would suggest.
In what was perhaps his best performance of the season, Holmes recorded half a sack, along with two passes defended, including one to impressive rookie wide receiver Ceedee Lamb in the end zone. Despite his stocky build, Holmes’ ability to use his hips, quickness and technique to maintain good positioning and hang in press coverage was on full display.
The cornerback’s talent and work ethic has allowed him to drastically improve his play within just five weeks of his rookie season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Holmes played just under half of New York’s defensive snaps throughout his first three games, while giving up an average of four receptions for 48.3 yards per contest.
In Weeks 4 and 5, however, Holmes has played an average of 67% of defensive snaps while allowing an average of just 2.5 receptions for 23.5 yards per game. While the season is still relatively young, it is also mentioning that Holmes has yet to give up a touchdown.
Regardless of how the easy-moving cornerback is a feisty player who is also not afraid to pop up in box or fight for position on contested catches, Giants fans’ basis for excitement should go beyond what the 22-year-old has to offer on the field.
According to NFL Writer Art Stapleton, Holmes has been actively trying to pick the brains of his veteran teammates, such as defensive back Logan Ryan, who has provided his rookie counterpart with many car rides home from practice throughout the season thus far.
Unfortunately, a neck injury sustained late in the second quarter forced Holmes out of New York’s game against Washington in Week 6. Holmes is listed as questionable for the Giants’ Thursday night matchup with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles.
Nevertheless, in an unprecedented season centered around rebuilding, the progression of a young player like Holmes is certainly encouraging for a fan base that is desperately yearning for sustained long-term success.