Darnay Holmes is a young rookie that New York Giants fans should be very excited about. The 21-year-old cornerback out of UCLA was drafted early in the fourth round in what many analysts and former players are calling “the steal of the draft”. His physical skills, desire to learn and his heart are tools that could make him a star at the next level.
Darnay Holmes Could Be Big for Big Blue
Darnay Holmes is a physical defender with next-level ball skills. He flies around the field with great positioning and burst in coverage. He has very quick feet and smooth hips and has the physical skills to fight for the starting nickel corner spot on day one. With the Giants, he would fit better at nickel than out wide like he played in college simply because he is 5’10” and 192 pounds. Guarding huge wideouts at the next level is a tough task for a guy of his size, even with his aggressive style of play. Physical skills are a must, but the desire to learn and develop those skills is how you succeed professionally.
Desire to Learn
Coaches and teachers everywhere will agree that the willingness to be taught and the desire to learn are two of the most important traits that a person can have. Not only does Holmes have both of these traits, but he also has the mentors to teach him. From his family, he has looked to either his father, a former running back for the Buffalo Bills, or his older brother, a wide receiver at the University of Arizona. But outside of his family, he has been mentored by some of the greatest players of all-time at his position. He has developed relationships with a trio of Hall of Famers in Rod Woodson, Aeneas Williams, and Deion Sanders. Tirelessly, he hounds these greats about training, mindset, and practice habits. Anything he can improve on, he wants to hear about, and that characteristic paired with his physical skills could make for a special player. But what Holmes really has above all else, is heart.
Determination and work ethic are quite possibly the biggest strengths in Holmes’ collection. He graduated from UCLA in just two and a half years as an academic honor roll student. His goal was to graduate in three years and he took classes each summer to complete it. On the field, Holmes was a leader who set the standard for the team. Ever since he started as a freshman, he has been routinely among the last players to leave practice and has become a “go-to leader”. UCLA coach, Chip Kelly, said “His work ethic and mind-set I think is special, and there’s a maturity to Darnay that I think rubs off on a lot of the younger guys. He walks the walk first. There’s nothing that he tells another player to do that he hasn’t done himself”.
Rarely is there this much hype on a fourth-round rookie before the season has even begun, but for a defense that has struggled over the last few seasons, a player with these qualities is certainly something to be excited about.