Rookie Rundown: RB Elijah Holyfield, Georgia

Rookie Rundown: RB Elijah Holyfield, Georgia

NFL Draft

Rookie Rundown: RB Elijah Holyfield, Georgia

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(Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports)

The son of former boxing heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, Georgia Bulldogs junior running back Elijah Holyfield brings a relentless powerback style to the NFL that packs a punch.

Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 217 pounds
40 time: 4.78 seconds

In 2016, as a true freshman, Holyfield barely saw the field behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, a theme that carried into 2017 behind Chubb and D’Andre Swift.

Year
Att
Yards
Avg.
TD
Long
Rec
Yards
Avg.
TD
Long
Fum
2016
6
29
4.8
0
9
1
19
19
0
19
0
2017
50
293
5.9
2
39
1
4
4
0
4
0
2018
159
1,018
6.4
7
66
5
40
8
0
24
0

He and Swift paired in 2018 with Michel and Chubb both in the NFL. The Bulldogs were rewarded by the explosive junior. As one can tell at a glance, he has almost no experience catching balls, and even Holyfield’s rushing attempts were suppressed.

Pros

  • Powerfully built with well-rounded strength (25 reps at 225 pounds on the bench)
  • Quicker than fast, showing excellent short-area burst and footwork
  • Non-stop motor — never shies from contact and rarely goes down at the initial point of contact
  • Above-average vision and reaction time — hits the hole efficiently while also being adept at spotting an open lane and making a jump-act to get through it
  • Unique blend of being able to slice and pick his way nimbly through traffic before lowering the boom on a smaller defender — runs with controlled violence
  • Ball security in a limited sample size — zero fumbles over 222 touches
  • Limited mileage on his tires

Cons

  • Lacks the ability to break away in the open field
  • High-energy style is tiring and can take him off of the field too often
  • Almost no experience as a receiver (seven career catches) or as a pass blocker
  • One year of part-time play and decent production
  • Doesn’t possess the makeup of a full-time back
  • Terrible performance at the NFL Scouting Combine and was even slower at Georgia’s pro day

Fantasy football outlook

The closest NFL comparisons coming to mind: retired NFL back Travis Henry and current Baltimore Ravens RB Mark Ingram. Holyfield is not as good of a receiver as Ingram, nor is he as polished of a pass protector. Ingram can play all three downs, whereas we just don’t know if that every will be in Holyfield’s tool chest.

He connects on a mean uppercut against defenders who’re unable to get to sink to his level at the point of contact, and there is a definitive role for Holyfield as a touchdown threat around the stripe. He’s a committee back and may not see the field right away, depending on the backfield composition he enters.

Holyfield’s lack of athleticism undoubtedly will turn off some teams. The pair of poor workouts could have him falling into the latter stages of the draft, and some pundits speculate he could go undrafted at this point.

Either way, Holyfield will find a home in the NFL. His landing spot completely dictates his chances for making a fantasy impact in 2019, since he’s not the type to force coaches to pay attention to him based on sheer talent or athleticism. For now, his ’19 value has a ceiling somewhere around being a matchup consideration in the right situation.

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