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Steelers Draft Jim Thorpe Winner Safety Gerod Holliman in Round 7

Kentucky v Louisville

The draft is over for the Steelers, as in round seven the team took safety Gerod Holliman.

The Louisivlle safety will come with a solid resume, as he led the NCAA with 14 interceptions last season.

Here’s a piece on Holliman from Peter King on SI:

Gerod Holliman’s collegiate career was defined by the number 14. In his first full season as a starter, the redshirt sophomore burst onto the scene with 14 interceptions in 13 games for Louisville in 2014. And he’s part of the reason more NFL personnel showed up at the school’s pro day, held Wednesday, than one year ago. Three Cardinals went in the first round last May, including quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

How does one get 14 picks in a season, a mark that tied the Division I single-season record? Bad quarterbacking, surely. And tipped balls, right?

Wrong. Only two of the free safety’s interceptions were off redirected passes. And he had his best performances in tight games against conference foes, including a two-interception showcase against Florida State and presumed No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. (Louisville led that game in the fourth quarter before Winston brought the Noles back for a 42-31 victory.)

Here’s’s scouting report:

Won Thorpe Award (given to nation’s best DB). First-team All-American. First-team All-ACC. Played in all 13 games with nine starts. Led FBS with 14 INT. That ties the FBS record for a single season (Al Worley, Washington, 1968). 2013: Played in 11 games with two starts. 2012: Played in three games before suffering a shoulder injury and missed the rest of the season. Received a redshirt.

Pro Day Results

40-yard dash: 4.65 and 4.68 seconds
Vertical jump: 27 inches
Broad jump: 9 feet, 1 inch
20-yard short shuttle: 4.45 seconds
3-cone drill: 7.08 seconds


Strengths Outstanding production and ball skills as a one-year starter. Totaled 17 passes defensed and 14 interceptions. Lights up when quarterbacks look his way. Smooth backpedal and fluid hips to mirror and match slot receivers. Instincts and angles to play the ball are at the top of the draft class. Understands route concepts and reads quarterbacks. Chance taker who can swing momentum. In man, undercuts routes and plays the ball. Senses when quarterbacks lock in and will leave his area looking for the interception. Aggression level ratchets up when ball is in the air. Can run through receivers with big hits or play ball at catch point. Soft hands and able to high point when necessary. Shows zero transitional hesitation with feet. Can play with sudden movements in space. Read Florida State QB Jameis Winston like a book and picked him twice in 2014.

Weaknesses One-year wonder. Discipline needed for the position goes missing. Can be moved around field by quarterbacks looking him off. Will lose inside-out leverage on plays headed to perimeter. Sits on play-action a shade too long. Shows lack of urgency in long pursuit. Atrocious tackler. Would rather hit than tackle. Doesn’t wrap up and gives limited effort. Had 44 total tackles with 20 missed and/or broken tackles, which was the worst ratio for an FBS starter. Slow to break down in space and lacks balance and base when tackling. Doesn’t always play at full speed or with max effort. Gives half-hearted attempt as high-to-low blitzer.
Draft Projection Round 4 or 5

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. DrGeorge

    May 2, 2015 at 6:41 pm

    This makes 7 out of 8 picks for defense, three to improve the pass rush and three ball-hawks to improve the interception ratio. If the defense doesn’t improve, it isn’t because Tomlin and Colbert wimped out. No one expects all of these guys to make the squad, but if even half of them do, it will have been a good draft.

    Next, we’ll fill in some gaps with free agents and let Butler debut the new D in August. I don’t think we can reasonably expect marked improvement in execution right away, but we ought to see a big leap in defensive intensity and enthusiasm for the game. It should be fun to watch.

  2. DaveB

    May 2, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Totally agree Dr. George . In addition , can we at least let these kids get to the team facilities before we go labeling them a bust or this draft was a bust ? As you said , no one expects all these kids to make the roster and probably two or three wont , but to condemn them and the front office when they have never even stepped on the field is unfair .

  3. Pingback: Steelers Draft Jim Thorpe Winner Safety Gerod Holliman in Round 7 | Sports Feedr

  4. Jay

    May 2, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    I have to admit, outside of the golson pick (which admittedly has grown on me over the past 24), I like all the other picks! Intrigued by the TE and the two DEs as well as the safety…what a steal in the seventh…if he can learn how to wrap up…love Coates too!

  5. DrGeorge

    May 3, 2015 at 9:12 am

    Apologies for the typo above. That should be 6 out of 8 picks.

    None of us know how these picks will pan out, including the coaches, but on paper this is one of our better draft classes in recent years. Certainly, we upgraded the speed and hands of the secondary. To win a roster spot, these guys are going to have to beat out veterans on the roster, but so many of our defensive veterans are journeymen at best, that shouldn’t be difficult to do. Under LeBeau, we drafted for the future and developed players. Butler does not have that luxury. Some of these rookies are going to play immediately, because we need them now, as with Shazier last year. They must learn on the job. That, to me, was the biggest difference in this year’s draft: we drafted for an ability to play immediately or in the near future. This is an excellent start on turning the D into a dominant force again, one suited to football as it is played under the new Goodell rules.

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