20/20: Elijah Holyfield

Bruce Matson

Welcome to the 20/20 series. As part of our continued Dynasty Scouts coverage and in preparation for the NFL Combine, we will be profiling 20 of the top incoming rookies of the class of 2019 by giving you 20 facts you must know.

1.) Player Name – Elijah Holyfield

2.) College – Georgia Bulldogs

3.) Height/Weight – 6’1’’, 223 lbs

4.) Birthdate – 11/29/1997

5.) Class – Junior

6.) Basic college stats –

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Courtesy of sports-reference.

7.) NFL Draft Round Projection – We still have a lot of time between now and the NFL Draft. How Holyfield tests at the Combine and at his pro day will give us a better feel of how he ranks athletically in this year’s draft class. With the information we have right now, he seems like a sure bet to get drafted in the middle rounds. I can see him slipping past the fourth round. However, he could potentially make it to the second round if he blows up the Combine.

8.) Current NFL comparison – He’s very similar to Kerryon Johnson. Both players run with a lot of power and will destroy defenders at the point of contact. They are both very agile for their size and have the ability to make defenders miss in the open field.

Marlon Mack is another comparable player. Like Mack, Holyfield projects to be a three-down back at the next level. They both run hard and can be a huge contributing factor to their respective offenses. Ironically, the two running backs fell under the radar going into the draft.

9.) Best possible destination – The New Orleans Saints could be the perfect destination for Holyfield. He could take over Mark Ingram’s role as the versatile, between-the-tackles grinder. Alvin Kamara will take some of the load off his shoulders in the passing game, limiting Holyfield’s expectations on passing downs and preserving him for the long haul. The offense can fuel two running backs to fantasy relevance. With Drew Brees under center, Holyfield would see plenty of red zone touches.

10.) Worst possible destination – It’s more than likely not going to happen, but the New England Patriots would be a horrible landing spot for him. For him to be fantasy-relevant, he will need to see a large market share of the targets out of the backfield and that’s not going to happen with New England’s running back rotation. We don’t know if he can be effective as a receiver out of the backfield considering he caught just seven passes during collegiate career, so right now, we can’t bank on him racking up catches to inflate his fantasy output.

11.) Best current skill – Holyfield is a very powerful back. He has the body of a Greek god and once he gets up to full speed he is very hard to bring down. Not only is he a tough runner but he’s very nimble at the point of contact which allows him to maintain balance and find a way to scoot by the defender. His leg drive allows him to finish runs and plow through tacklers. Holyfield soaks up and absorbs contact like a sponge and he wouldn’t be able to do that if it wasn’t for his muscular frame.

12.) Skill that needs to be improved – He’s not exactly the type of back who can hit the hole and be nine yards and a cloud of dust. Holyfield’s long speed is in question. He doesn’t have the speed to score from anywhere on the field. Burning defenses isn’t his game. He’s a power back with really good feet and agility. Even though he’s not a speedster, he still has enough juice in his legs to get the job done.

13.) Past/current rookie ADP – With an ADP of 17.80, Holyfield is currently a mid-late second round pick in rookie drafts. He has the potential to shoot up boards if he gets drafted by a team with a high-powered offense. On the contrary, his value would stay the same or possibly even drop if he goes to a team that already has a feature back.

14.) Projected dynasty value – This will be affected by his performance at the Combine, pro day and where he gets selected in the draft. With that being said, he has the potential to be a top-50 pick in startup drafts, but there’s also a chance that he could fall somewhere between the eighth and tenth rounds if he gets drafted into a bad situation.

His dynasty value should hold steady during the first couple of years of his career, giving dynasty owners around 18-24 months before they need to decide what to do with him. Obviously, if he hits you want to either keep him around or sell him while his value is high, but if he’s not performing, then you will have some time to figure out when and how you want to trade him before his value bottoms out.

15.) Recruiting profile – Holyfield was a four-star prospect from Woodward Academy which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. 247Sports ranked him the sixth-best running back in the 2016 recruiting class. He garnered a lot of national attention, receiving offer letters from 31 different schools before signing his letter of intent with Georgia.

16.) High school production – 2012 (freshman): 66 carries for 645 yards and ten touchdowns. 2013 (sophomore): 97 carries for 594 yards and eight touchdowns. 2014 (junior): 264 carries for 1,735 yards and 25 touchdowns. 2015 (senior): 151 carries for 1,069 yards and 21 touchdowns.

17.) Advanced metrics –

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This is one of the rare occasions where you want to throw the career market share and dominator ratings out the window. Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift were some of the best running backs in college football. Georgia has fostered some of the top running back prospects in recent years and they have one of the best programs in the country when it comes to recruiting and developing their players at the position. When a school is this rich in talent at a certain position, there will be talented players who will take a back seat and not get the playing time they would normally receive if they played at another program. This happened to Holyfield and is why we have a limited sample size of production.

This is an outlier situation and we just have to see Holyfield’s NFL career play out before we fully know what he’s capable of doing at the next level. The fact that he couldn’t beat out elite level running back prospects for touches suggests he’s not a top-tier running back. With that in mind, we also don’t know if he can be a high-end producer because he has never been granted the opportunity to be a feature back. From what we’ve seen on tape from his junior season, it’s evident that he’s a talented running back who has the traits to be a workhorse running back at the next level. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the production to back it up, but with his circumstances, production might not tell the full story.

18.) Run-in with the law –In 2017 he was arrested on a misdemeanor drug charge. Luckily, he was able to negotiate a deal to get the charges dropped. In order to get the charges expunged, he had to do 40 hours of community service, refrain from getting arrested or getting into trouble for a year, and stay sober from drugs and alcohol.

19.) The real deal – He’s the son of Evander Holyfield, who was a professional boxer who held belts at cruiserweight in the 1980s and heavyweight in 1990s. He also represented the United States in the 1984 Olympic Games.

20.) Check the tape –

The video above is from his 2018 game against Kentucky where he rushed for 115 yards and one touchdown. What I love about this game is that it shows his versatile running style. We see him running over defenders and using his nimble feet to jump cut and move laterally to reach the open running lane. He has excellent vision and is efficient with every step he takes. This is one of the best games of his career and it provides a depiction of how he could potentially look at the next level.

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You can find more game tape and highlight videos on our NFL Draft Prospect Videos page!

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