I got in touch with several writers on the college football blogs. I wanted to get their thoughts on the Redskins newest draft picks and ask a few more revealing questions about how these players fit on the team and their chances of making an impact either immediately or down the line. Walt Austin of College And Magnolia gave us some great information regarding new Redskin CB Joshua Holsey.
Cadillactica: Could you give us your impression of what the Auburn coaches thought of Hosley while at Auburn?
Walt Austin: From everything I've heard and read, the coaches loved Josh. He was definitely someone who absorbed the coaching and was a huge leader on the defensive side of the ball even when he wasn't playing. With Josh, you're getting someone who is as resilient as they come and will fight hard for everything. Through multiple knee surgeries, he refused to give up and used not being invited to the Combine as fuel to prove his worth. Since his freshman season in 2012, I've known he was going to be a special player.
Cadillactica: Coach Jay Gruden has said he likes Holsey's versatility and toughness. He views him as a nickel corner. The Redskins now have great depth at the corner spot with Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Fabian Moreau, and Quinton Dunbar, what does Holsey have to do to beat out the competition for the 6th corner spot?
Walt Austin: This is a hard one to answer not knowing the situation with each player you mentioned. Obviously, as a 7th round pick with a history of knee surgeries he's going to have a tough road to make the roster, but there's no doubting he has the drive and the talent to do it. He's going to have to work harder than he's worked before. If he's able to prove he's healthy, then I think his natural talent and ability will show out enough that he can earn a spot.
Cadillactica: Holsey is coming off his best year yet statistically but he has had injuries in the past. Are you concerned for his career in the pro's and do you think eventually he could be one of those rare late round players that works their way into meaningful reps?
Walt Austin: His past injuries are the only concern I would have about him having a long career. He showed flashes of brilliance all the way back to his freshman year and I believe if he'd stayed healthy throughout college, he would have been a very high pick. His injuries are still a big concern given that they were knee issues, but if he stays healthy he's going to end up one of the steals of the draft.
Cadillactica: Can you describe his strengths and weaknesses? How do you think he would fit on a team like the Redskins that plays in a lot of nickel sub packages and whose corners primarily play zone coverage?
Walt Austin: I really don't have the Xs and Os knowledge to dig too deep into strength and weakness. I will say that nickel packages have almost become the primary defense at Auburn over the last few seasons, so I don't think it'll be a huge transition for him to fit in anywhere in that type of defense. He also brings the added versatility of having played as a corner and safety in college. He can move all over the field and play wherever you need him.
Cadillactica: Could you sum up his play in a single word or phrase?
Walt Austin: Fearless. You would think that a player who has suffered multiple knee injuries would be a bit more timid on the field, but Josh never failed to lay out for any play. That's shown in this highlight video just from this season. Holsey had game-winning interceptions two games in a row last season. There are other plays I wish I could find from previous seasons, but that highlight video is pretty good because every play in it comes after his two surgeries.
Realistically Josh Holsey has an upward climb to beat out the competition for the 6th CB spot. At this time I’d imagine his primary competition is going to be Dashaun Phillips and Tevin Homer but it's well within reach if, as Walt said, Holsey can stay healthy. I was really not familiar with many Auburn players this year with the exception of Kam Petteway, Carl Lawson, and Rudy Ford. Holsey’s selection wasn’t a surprise per say but when I took a peek at his stats and some of his film after he was drafted I was impressed. If healthy he looks more like a 5th rounder to me and the competition between him and the other two guys I listed should be fun to follow. I hope his injuries are behind him and I’ll be rooting for him all throughout the offseason. I mentioned it on day three of the draft but as Walt succinctly put it if healthy he could be one of the steals of the draft.