Cole Holcomb Is a Rising Star on the Washington Football Team

Cole Holcomb

The Washington Football Team has lost their last two games; however, linebacker Cole Holcomb is emerging as a rising star on the Washington defense. With a pectoral injury, linebacker Jon Bostic is potentially out for the season, and rookie linebacker Jamin Davis is still finding his place in defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio’s system. With Holcomb’s play this season, he has an opportunity to be among the stars on Washington’s defense.

Washington Football Team Rising Star: Cole Holcomb

A Protostar

In astronomy, a protostar is an early stage in the evolution of a star. Cole Holcomb was a walk-on at the University of North Carolina who eventually earned a scholarship opportunity with the Tar Heels. Holcomb led the Tar Heels in total tackles in 2016, 2017, and 2018.

As a  6’1″ 230 pound linebacker, Holcomb received a prospect grade of 5.90, which suggested he would play a backup/special-teamer role in the NFL. Holcomb’s draft projection was a fifth or sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Washington selected Holcomb with the 173rd pick in the fifth round. A draft commentary of Holcomb suggested that “…his play early will suffer if he’s tasked with taking the field prematurely on a high percentage of his snaps….”

A Star on the Rise

In 2019, Holcomb started 15 out of 16 games for Washington. He played in 63 percent of the defensive snaps. In 2020, Holcomb started 10 out of 11 games. He played in 53 percent of the defensive snaps. Holcomb has started all six games in the 2021 season and has played in 97 percent of the defensive snaps.

In Holcomb’s rookie season, he ranked second on the team in solo tackles (74) and was tied for second on the team with Bostic in combined tackles (105). Holcomb only played in 11 games in his second season but still ranked third on the team in solo (45) and combined (72) tackles.

This season Holcomb ranks first in solo (30) and combined tackles (58). Holcomb has 20 more combined tackles than Landon Collins, who ranks second. Holcomb is also among the league leaders in solo tackles, combined tackles, and forced fumbles this season. He also has a Week 5 interception of New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston to his credit.

Shining Bright Among the Stars

The Washington defense includes four first-round draft picks on the defensive line (Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Montez Sweat). Safety Landon Collins signed a six-year, $84 million contract with Washington in 2019. Defensive back William Jackson III signed a three-year, $40.5 million with Washington in the offseason. Washington also drafted Davis in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Holcomb is currently on a four-year deal with Washington worth $2,754,884. Through his first three seasons with the team, Holcomb has proven to be more than his prospect grade suggested. Holcomb, like the rest of the members of the Washington defense, still has room to improve.  He has shown that he is a sure tackler with a missed tackle percentage of 7.9 through six games this season. Holcomb will continue to develop as a pass defender. Opponents are completing 80.6 percent of passes this season when Holcomb is the targeted defender.

Holcomb is on pace to lead the team in tackles this season. Holcomb’s decisiveness and aggression were once in question. Now, Holcomb’s decisiveness and aggression are forcing turnovers and propelling him to be among the stars on the Washington defense.

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