Crunching the Numbers: The Analytics Behind the Jalyn Holmes Pick

Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings finally dipped into the defensive line in the draft, selecting hybrid defensive end/defensive tackle Jalyn Holmes along the lines of former Mike Zimmer player Wallace Gilberry, as well as recent picks B.J. Dubose and Scott Crichton.

The defensive end/defensive tackle hybrid doesn’t have much of a Vikings prototype, as they’ve generally selected players with wildly different production and athleticism profiles. Still, it’s worth it to go over the analytical history of the undersized tackle to see what kind of production the Vikings might expect to get.

Historically, peak-year production tells us more about how defensive linemen do in the NFL than final-year production. Consider the fact that Von Miller, Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney produced more in their second-to-last season than their final season. Or the fact that Geno Atkins was more productive as a sophomore than as a junior or senior. Malik Jackson and Grady Jarrett also happened to be a little more productive in the second-to-last seasons than their final season.

The same is true of Holmes, who posted 9.0 tackles for loss in 2016 to go with 2.0 sacks. It’s not eye-popping, but it’s substantially better than his 2017 performance, where he was buried on an immensely talented depth chart. That said, his performance is still relatively poor given how often he lined up on the edge.

Even when only compared to defensive tackles in the draft, he ends up marginally below average in production scores.

In both cases, one could excuse it given that he saw fewer snaps with the talented cast around him, but he had poor per-snap production, too. He ranked 62nd of 118 defensive ends in pressures per snaps, though ranked 14th of 124 in run stop rate. That’s three elements of poor production with very good production in the final element — though that may not translate to the inside where a 280-pound defensive tackle might get blown out in the run game.

These production metrics may simply not translate for a defensive tackle, but it is curious given the more productive three-techniques available — players like Maurice Hurst of course, but also John Franklin-Myers, R.J. McIntosh, Kentavius Street (who would also convert to play inside), Da’Shawn Hand, Andrew Brown and even one-technique candidates Foley Fatukasi and Tim Settle.

Nevertheless, it’s possible to make up for production scores with solid athleticism, especially because athleticism can be tweaked to the expected position and need not be adjusted for the position one played in college.

Holmes has a fairly unusual athleticism chart, with a better 40-yard dash than anything else. Above-average explosion scores matter much more for nose tackles than they do three-techniques and limited agility scores will cap his overall athletic profile. As an undersized player, it’s critical to win with agility because it allows one to get into the backfield off the snap.

That said, those are weight-adjusted scores up there, so his true speed through the drills is a little faster relative to his peers.

Overall, it’s an unexciting but not necessarily alarming analytical profile.

All analytic scores are meant to be read like an IQ chart, with 100 being average and every 15 points in either direction representing one large tier.



Catch Arif every week on The Zone Coverage Football Machine

Crunching the Numbers: The Analytics Behind the Ade Aruna Pick
By Arif Hasan - May 1, 2018
GILES AND THE GOALIE Ep. 210: Wild Goaltending Struggles Continue
By Giles Ferrell - Nov 13, 2019

SECOND LOOK: Revisiting Mike Hughes' Performance vs. Dallas

Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Inman contributed to this story. After a week of practice that saw starting corner Trae Waynes limited due to injury and then absent for personal reasons, […]

Continue Reading