Steelers News

Tomlin Praises Cole Holcomb’s Athleticism: ‘He Can Run, He Can Get To Things’

Rarely do the Pittsburgh Steelers sign a player as an unrestricted free agent without proceeding to go on about how much they liked him coming out of college. That evidently wasn’t the case for their new top inside linebacker, Cole Holcomb, signed in March to a three-year, $18 million deal.

Head coach Mike Tomlin admitted to reporters last month that the team was “less familiar with him coming out” and that they “gained perspective on him through his playing career” after he came into the league in 2019, according to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.

Not that that’s a bad thing. It just seems to be the way things go. How ever Holcomb got himself on the Steelers’ radar, they liked him enough this offseason that they signed him to a pretty solid deal, even while coming off of an injury.

“Holcomb, man, is an athletic guy. He can run, he can get to things. He put together a nice body of work in Washington”, Tomlin said of the Steelers’ likely new every-down backer. “There’s a lot to like. Love the fact that he’s a captain. He’s smart. He can make all the calls. Same thing with Elandon [Roberts]. We’re excited to have him, and the opportunity to do business with both those guys was a beautiful thing for us”.

Roberts, of course, is the other inside linebacker the Steelers signed as an unrestricted free agent this offseason, a player they were much more familiar with coming out of college. Indeed, he talked about meeting Tomlin during the pre-draft process and wanting to play in Pittsburgh one day.

The duo replaces Devin Bush, Myles Jack, and Robert Spillane as the top inside linebackers at the position for the Steelers. They allowed both Bush and Spillane to walk via free agency, without even offering Bush a contract. Jack was released following a so-so season with a pending $8 million base salary.

Holcomb, admittedly, isn’t a name that was on a lot of Steelers fans’ radar before he signed with the team. A fifth-round pick out of North Carolina, he has spent his entire career with the Washington Commanders, starting 48 of 50 games over that span. He missed 10 games last season due to injury but logged over 1,000 snaps in 2021.

With two 100-tackle seasons under his belt, including 142 in 2021, we know that he is capable of being a volume player. He also has more athleticism than many might think, with eye-popping Pro Day numbers, including a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, a 6.77-second three-cone, and an 11-foot broad jump.

He’s a sideline-to-sideline guy, but his potential has always seemed to outpace his production. There’s more that he’s capable of but he still needs to harness some of his skills. He can run and chase, but he can get slowed down in traffic, for example, without plus ability to shed blockers. We’ll see how clean this defensive front can keep him, and what new inside linebackers coach Aaron Curry can get out of him.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!