Round 4: Ohio State DE Jalyn Holmes – 6-5, 279 – 4.78 – Junior
Previous pick: Kansas State CB D.J. Reed
The Bucs need to address the defensive end position and do so with Holmes, a versatile player that had a great Senior Bowl. Holmes played on a Buckeyes defensive line that featured Joey Bosa, a first-round pick by San Diego in 2016, and as well as other NFL-caliber defensive linemen, including Adolphus Washington, Nick Bosa, Sam Hubbard and Tyquan Lewis, who also had a nice week at the Senior Bowl, and his production often got lost in the shuffle.
No, Holmes’ stats will not wow Tampa Bay fans looking for a dynamic pass rusher. He was a two-year starter, playing both defensive end and defensive tackle due to his 6-foot-5, 279-pound frame, and recorded just five sacks – and no more than two in any season.
Holmes’ Ohio State Career Defensive Stats
2017: 30 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 PBUs, 1 FF
2016: 33 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 2 FR, 1 PBU, 1 FF
2015: 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 FF
2014: 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss
But for a Bucs team that may be sticking with a 4-3 scheme or converting to a 3-4 front, Holmes offers plenty of versatility – just as he brought to the Buckeyes. His size, strength and athleticism allows Holmes to play defensive end in a 4-3, defensive tackle in a 4-3 nickel rush front, as well as weakside defensive end in a 3-4 scheme in Tampa Bay.
“It’s helped a lot,” Holmes said. “Stuff like that helped prepare me for the NFL and makes me open to all 32 teams instead of just limiting me to a select few that run a certain scheme. Different teams I’ve talked to run different schemes, and it’s crazy because each team has their own way they want you to play in their defense.
“I feel like everything at Ohio State has helped because asking me to play 3-technique in a 3-4 or end in a 3-4 is not new or overwhelming for me. It’s really up to what coaches decide.”
Holmes had the second-longest arms (34 3/4 inches) than any Senior Bowl defender outside of Virginia defensive tackle Andrew Brown (35 inches) and did have the longest wingspan (82 7/8 inches) of any defender present in Mobile, Ala. He showed what he could do in the Senior Bowl game on Sunday, recording a sack on a nice inside spin move rushing from left defensive end, and then had another sack rushing from the defensive tackle position. No other defender had as many sacks during the Senior Bowl.
Holmes’ size and athleticism have NFL scouts drooling, and they believe that Holmes’ best pass-rushing days are ahead of him. For a team like Tampa Bay, which needs an instant impact along the defensive line in terms of its pass rush, Holmes may be more of a project. But the Bucs aren’t done addressing their defensive front seven.