ESPN writer: Will Holden a draft sleeper from the SEC
May 1, 2017, 11:31 AM | Updated: 5:32 pm
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Though he played in 48 games (with 37 starts) for an SEC team, Will Holden is likely not a household name.
Such is the case for an offensive lineman, especially when said SEC team is Vanderbilt.
A second-team All-SEC selection in 2016, Holden was the first of the Arizona Cardinals’ two fifth-round picks Saturday (No. 157 overall), and he made ESPN.com writer Edward Aschoff’s list of five draft sleepers from the SEC.
A lot of people didn’t know much about Holden before or probably even after the draft. But at 6-foot-7 and change, Holden should garner a lot of immediate attention from his Arizona Cardinals teammates. Holden was drafted in the fifth round by the Cardinals (No. 157). He’s a quick, strong lineman, but needs to get stronger in his core. He held his own against better SEC pass-rushers and could be fine with more of a zone blocking scheme.
After playing both guard and tackle in college, Holden said the Cardinals envision him as a tackle, which “will be nice.”
“But I’m ready to go in there and compete for a job, whether that is at tackle or guard,” he added.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim praised Holden’s positional flexibility, as well as his skill set for a player his 6-foot-7, 311-pound frame.
He was asked if Holden compares to Jared Veldheer, who was a third-round pick of the Oakland Raiders’ out of Hillsdale in 2010 and played left tackle for Arizona from 2014 to 2016. He is projected to move to right tackle in 2017.
“Yeah, I think that he is one of those guys that, is he ideally a left tackle? What is ideal? A guy that has rare natural knee bend, length and athleticism,” Keim said. “Are either of those guys that? No, but they are good technicians and they understand how to get by whatever limitations they have so they can play left and they can play right.
“They can also move inside if they have to, that may be a good comparison. Hillsdale is probably a little bit different than Vanderbilt.”