Washington currently has 12 UDFAs and a pair of 7th round drafted rookies on the roster, but that list of players is subject to a lot of change. In previous years, we’ve put together profiles of players only to see them cut by the team a day before the profile was set to publish (or a day after it did publish). In fact, in just the 4 weeks or so that followed the 2022 draft, we saw a lot of churn in this part of the roster among both UDFAs and veteran free agents, and last week, 2 UDFAs that we’d already profiled were released to make room for 2 DBs from the USFL. We could easily see some more roster changes ahead of the start of training camp next week.
These articles about the bottom-of-the-roster players are not intended to suggest that any given player is bound for glory; rather, the articles are intended to celebrate the ongoing fight of each player to extend his NFL dream. Christian Holmes has the slight advantage over UDFAs of the franchise having used a draft pick on him, but being the 240th pick in the draft is not high-level roster insurance.
For those of you who appreciate the fight of the underdog, I hope you enjoy today’s article as wee approach the end of this season’s “UDFA Spotlight” series.
Christian Holmes, DB, Oklahoma State / Missouri
Okay. I’m ready to officially pronounce a definite trend in the Commanders 2022 rookie class. The team seems to have put a priority on older, more physically mature players in ‘22 after possibly focusing a bit more on younger players with upside potential in ‘21, when their first 4 draft picks had played just 3 seasons of college football. By contrast, look at the rookies that they drafted or signed as undrafted free agents this offseason:
- Jahan Dotson - 4 seasons at Penn St
- Phidarian Mathis - 4 seasons at Alabama
- Brian Robinson - 5 seasons at Alabama
- Percy Butler - 4 seasons at Louisiana
- Sam Howell - “only” 3 seasons at UNC
- Cole Turner - 4 seasons at Nevada
- Chris Paul - 4 seasons at Tulsa (redshirt senior)
- Cole Kelley - 5 seasons
- Jacub Panasiuk - 5 seasons at Michigan State
- Josh Drayden - 6 seasons at Cal
- Nijuel Hill - 5 seasons at Delaware
- Devin Taylor - 5 seasons
- Tyrese Robinson - 4 seasons (redshirt senior)
- Jaquez Ezzard - 6 seasons
- Tre Walker - 4 seasons at San Jose State
- Drew White - 5 seasons at Notre Dame
- Ferrod Gardner - 4 seasons (redshirt senior)
- Bryce Notree - 5 seasons at Southern Illinois
- Kyric McGowan - 5 seasons
- Armani Rodgers - 5 seasons
- Curtis Hodges - 5 season at Arizona State
As far as I can tell, Sam Howell is the only Commanders rookie to have played less than 4 seasons of college ball, and, by my unofficial count, 14 of the 21 rookies were either redshirt seniors or played either 5 or 6 seasons of college football (mostly due to the COVID-related eligibility accommodations).
Holmes’ college career
Christian Holmes, a cornerback selected 240th overall by the Commanders, fits this mold, having played 5 full seasons plus a redshirt sophomore season in 2017. He spent 4 years (3 seasons) at Missouri in the SEC before transferring ahead of 2020 and eventually playing 2 more redshirt senior seasons at Oklahoma State in the Big 10.
In talking about the decision to transfer, Holmes indicated that he looked at the pass-happy offenses of the Big 12 as a great challenge for him to prove himself. “I think my mind was made up when I wanted to prove myself to get more tape of my ability,” Holmes said in an interview. “The ball is thrown a lot in the Big 12. This is probably the most I’ve seen the ball thrown around since I put on a helmet; it’s crazy and it’s fun. It’s what every corner deams of.”
Now a 24-year-old drafted rookie for Washington, Holmes put up his two best college seasons in 2018 with Missouri, and 2021 with Oklahoma State. His teams made 3 bowl appearances (‘18, ‘20 and ‘21). Holmes also was named to the AP All-Big 12 second-team, while also receiving All-Big 12 Academic honors in 2021.
The Commanders website lists Holmes at 6’1”, 205 pounds, though he measured at under 6’0” at his pro day. Checking multiple sources, his height is listed at 5’11”, 6’0” or 6’1”, and while I typically go with the team website, their recent reliability seems to be a bit suspect as regards player data; the most reliable numbers seem to be those shown on the RAS below, which match the pro day results I’ve seen on other reliable sites.
His 10- and 20-yard splits indicate good acceleration and quickness to go with good size, and his 39-inch vertical leap is what you want to see in a defensive back.
Christian Holmes was drafted with pick 240 of round 7 in the 2022 draft class. He scored a 9.1 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 181 out of 2001 CB from 1987 to 2022. https://t.co/v2ffAJ8aGK #RAS #Commanders pic.twitter.com/u6LJl33CHf— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 30, 2022
Washington needs depth, and more competition, at corner. That didn’t really change after the draft considering Holmes is not a lock to make the roster. He’s considered an aggressive corner, especially with his hands. He’s probably more quick than fast, but his potential shows in his vertical jump. At 5-foot-11, he has good size for a corner.
It’s hard to assess Holmes based on the information available about him on the internet. There aren’t really any highlight films of more recent vintage than 2019, and there are no draft profiles because no one really seems to have expected him to get drafted.
Holmes appears to be what many mid- to late-7th-round draft picks are: a bit of a speculation based on traits and the team’s need for corner depth.
Holmes played against a high level of competition in the SEC and Big 12, and his measurables are acceptable for the NFL, which seems to be what separates him from the UDFAs that we have profiled in previous weeks.
I thought he was scoring. You thought he was scoring. When he got past Jason Taylor I was thinking 75-yarder at the Cotton Bowl. Credit Christian Holmes busting his ass to force out. *Maybe late hit lol* pic.twitter.com/t8xm8ZM5wX— Eddie Radosevich (@Eddie_Rado) November 28, 2021
An August 2020 Interview with Christian Holmes
A pre-draft “closer look” into Christian Holmes’ Combine-Prep training in 2022
Outlook with the Commanders
Christian Holmes probably comes into training camp next week with the slightest of advantages due to his draft status, but he’s going to need to out-play the competition and find a spot on kick and punt coverage teams if he wants to elbow his way onto the 53-man roster. Right now, I’d say he looks like he’s “on the bubble” at DB. Assuming the team keeps 11 total DBs, I see:
- Kendall Fuller
- William Jackson
- Benjamin St-Juste
- Bobby McCain
- Kam Curl
- Percy Butler
as the only real roster locks. The team has a few players with experience at both cornerback and safety, and lots of competition for the other 5 spots.
Five players have previous NFL experience: Danny Johnson, Jeremy Reaves, Corn Elder, Troy Apke, and Darrick Forrest.
Another four guys have no real NFL experience and no draft status: Josh Drayden, Ferrod Gardner, Channing Stribling, and DeJuan Neal.
If the team were to keep 5 safeties and 6 CBs (not guaranteed), then I think Holmes needs to beat out at least one of the veterans out of Johnson, Elder and Apke, which seems like a big ask, and, at this point, I think Stribling’s 2022 USFL performance might put him ahead of Holmes in the race for a roster spot.
Current Commanders depth chart
How excited are you that Christian Holmes was drafted by the Commanders?
This poll is closed
5 - Very excited!
4 - Looks good...for a late 7th round pick
3 - I’m okay; let’s wait and see
2 - I’m doubtful about this guy’s prospects
1 - This guy doesn’t belong in an NFL training camp