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Redskins ILB Cole Holcomb: From Walk On to the NFL

A Surprise 5th Round Selection

NCAA Football: Duke at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

I suspect most of us who aren’t ACC diehards hadn’t heard of Cole Holcomb before he was drafted.

However, like Wes Martin, it appears we very well may have found another diamond in the rough (a 2-9 UNC team).

Cole Holcomb, LB
School: North Carolina | Conference: ACC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 6-1 / 231 lbs
Actual Draft Status: 5th Round
NFL Comparison: Will Compton?

College Statistics

Player Overview

Originally from New Smyrna Beach, FL, Cole Holcomb played safety, linebacker, and tight end in high school prior to arriving at UNC. He was a walk on at Chapel Hill, and primarily played special teams his freshman year. In 2016, he started all 13 games at outside linebacker, finished 5th in the ACC in tackles per game and first on his team.

His junior season, he started 11 games, missing a game with injury, but still led the team in tackles (and was 6th in the ACC). During his senior season, he started in 10 games, played in 11 and led the ACC in tackles (and was 31st in the nation). He was named second team All-ACC after accumulating 105 tackles (8 TFL), 4 pass break ups, and 4 forced fumbles.

He is an athletic freak: His 40 time of 4.48 would have been 4th among linebackers (behind only the Devins and Gary Johnson) at the Combine; His broad jump of 132” would have been tops among LBs; His vertical of 39.5” would have tied him for second, with Devin White (only Devin Bush leaped higher); His 22 reps would have tied him at 12th - with Devin White. Athletically, in fact, Holcomb appears to mirror Devin White very closely.

Athletic Measurables

Player Height Weight Arm Length Hand 40 yd Vert Broad 3-Cone Shuttle Bench
Player Height Weight Arm Length Hand 40 yd Vert Broad 3-Cone Shuttle Bench
Cole Holcomb 6'1" 231 31.6" 10" 4.48 123" 6.77 4.14 22
Devin White 6' 237 32.12" 9.75" 4.42 39.5" 118" 7.07 4.17 22
Luke Kuechley 6'2" 242 31" 9.75" 4.58 38" 123" 6.92 4.12 27


  • Explosiveness.
  • Strong tackler.
  • Very athletic and exudes hustle.
  • Looks to create turnovers.
  • Has the opportunity to become a valuable special teamer.


  • Coverage instincts.
  • Getting separation from blockers.
  • Can be indecisive during play development.

Let’s see his work

How He Will Fit On The Redskins

Cole Holcomb’s initial value to the Redskins will almost certainly be in the form of strengthening its special teams’ group. Distinguished by his strong tackling ability and ceaseless hustle, Holcomb should be an instant upgrade covering kick off and punt returns. Eventually, he should provide depth at weak-side linebacker, providing significant speed (4.48 40yd) at a position where the Redskins have struggled with that during Mason Foster’s tenure (4.67 40yd). Holcomb plays with a passion for the game and energy that is infectious, and should be a welcome addition to a Redskins’ ILB corps that is trending younger, more athletic, and hungry.