During the offseason, we’ve been looking in depth at each of the Jets’ draft picks and undrafted free agent signings. However, there’s another intriguing first-year addition we haven’t looked at yet.
Valentine Holmes is a 23-year old former international rugby league star from Australia. He is 6’1” and 200 pounds and has been listed as a running back, although he has no football experience.
He was allocated to the Jets for the 2019 season under the International Player Pathway Program. This guarantees him at least a practice squad spot throughout the season, and he doesn’t count towards the 90-man roster limit during the offseason. The Jets are also being allocated an extra practice squad spot to accommodate his guaranteed place.
Holmes didn’t attend college, signing his first professional rugby league contract as a 17-year old. Over the next few years, he established himself as one of the brightest young stars in Australian rugby, starring for the Cronulla Sharks in the NRL.
The Sharks won their first ever premiership title in 2016 with Holmes scoring 19 tries to lead the team for the second year in a row. (A try is the rugby equivalent of a touchdown). Holmes also was selected to represent Australia for the first time, scoring once on his debut.
In 2017, Holmes became an even bigger star thanks to his performance at the Rugby League World Cup. Holmes only had one try (the equivalent of a touchdown) entering the quarterfinal stage, but then exploded for a record-breaking five tries in a blowout win over Samoa and then broke his record with six more against Fiji in the semi final.
While Holmes didn’t score in the final, he played a valuable role in Australia’s 6-0 win over England and ended the tournament as the leading try scorer with a record 12.
Holmes continued to play well over the next few seasons, winning the Sharks’ player of the season award in 2018. However, he opted to be released from his contract to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
After an impressive pro day, Holmes was allocated to the Jets under the International Player Pathway Program. Even if he makes the roster, he’ll initially see a drop in pay because he was earning a million Australian dollars a year (about $700K).
Now let’s take a look at what Holmes brings to the table, divided into categories.
Holmes is scatback-sized and shows speed, strength, acceleration and a low center of gravity on film.
At his pro day, he ran a 4.45 in the 40-yard dash. His strength and explosiveness numbers were about average with 20 bench press reps, a 33.5-inch vertical and a 119” broad jump.nfl nike jerseys cheap china
He was reportedly told that his three-cone drill was in the 6.7-6.8 range which would have been incredible. Only six running backs have run a three-cone drill of less than 6.75 at the combine since 1999, including Christian McCaffrey.nike jerseys nfl cheap
Holmes has been listed as a running back, but has also trained to play wide receiver and to return kicks and punts.
In rugby league, Holmes primarily played on the wing, which means he was out wide and the team would look to get him the ball in space to run around the outside. However, he also played some fullback, which means he would have been playing a deeper role on defense and more involved offensively in the middle of the field.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china
Running Ability nfl cheap nike jerseys
Holmes’ natural running ability is his most transferable skill. On the rugby field, he was a constant threat to beat the first man, battle for positive yardage and break long gains.cheap official nike nfl jerseys
Here’s an example of his burst and acceleration as he slips the first tackle and then breaks into the clear.
Holmes is likely to have a good nose for the end zone, if his scoring record in rugby is anything to go by. He scored 17 tries in 13 games for Australia and another eight in five games representing the state of Queensland. He averaged approximately two tries every three games for his club side and is particularly adept at reaching the ball out to reach the goal line.
Ball security might require something of an adjustment from Holmes, although he didn’t ever seem to lose the ball while being tackled in rugby. He won’t be used to having several players scraping after the ball or receiving a helmet to the bicep, so he’s going to have to develop good habits in terms of establishing the “five points of pressure” consistently.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap
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Holmes’ running skills would seem perfect for a return role. However, the main challenge will be whether he is able to catch the ball reliably and make good decisions about when to field the ball and where to run.