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Eagles host UCLA cornerback on pre-draft visit

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Philly’s doing their homework on defensive backs.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Cal at UCLA Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles hosted UCLA cornerback Darnay Holmes on an official pre-draft visit this week. Hat tip to the Cat Scratch Reader’s Billy Marshall:

Holmes played 35 games for the Bruins before declaring for the 2020 NFL Draft as a junior. He finished his collegiate career with 120 total tackles, 17 passes defensed, eight interceptions, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and two defensive touchdowns. In other words, he has a track record of production, which we all know the Eagles value. (Holmes also had 38 kick returns for a 23.1 average and one touchdown.)

BGN’s Michael Kist previously wrote that Holmes stood out in a good way at Senior Bowl practices back in January. “No corner chirped more, you could hear him from the stands lmao, I love him,” Kist added in a BGN Slack chat with me. Sure sounds like the kind of swagger that Jim Schwartz loves in his defensive backs.

The 5-10, 195 pound Holmes offers versatility given his experience playing both in the slot and on the outside. One NFL coach said the following to NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks:

“Holmes might be the best nickel corner in the draft. He has a knack for playing inside — and that’s hard to find. I like his toughness and competitiveness. He’s a good one.”

It’s pretty interesting to see the Eagles showing interest in yet ANOTHER defensive back who projects as a slot guy. We previously highlighted that curiosity in our article about the Eagles’ first reported pre-draft visit, Amik Robertson.

This Robertson visit in interesting in the context that the Eagles have shown a lot of interest in nickel defenders this offseason. They’ve already been linked to the likes of Chris Harris Jr. and Logan Ryan in free agency. Now they’re bringing in Robertson for a visit. One would think the Eagles already feel good about their nickel corner spot due the presence of Avonte Maddox and Cre’Von LeBlanc, who’ve both enjoyed some success. Is that not the case? Are the Eagles thinking of moving Maddox to safety? Are they thinking of moving one of these other nickel players to the back end?

Holmes and Robertson project as late Day 2 or early Day 3 picks in this year’s draft. Perhaps we’ll see the Eagles add one of them.

Scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:

Short, strong cornerback with good aggression but troubling tape in terms of staying connected to routes. Tight hips and a lack of coverage instincts are a challenging combination for a cornerback who can be over-responsive to route movements. He plays with good toughness and decent ball skills, but he lacks functional length and struggles to flip hips and reach top gear quickly, which could make him a sitting duck against vertical challenges.

Spider graph via Mockdraftable:

Highlights video:

Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits

UCLA CB Darnay Holmes

Louisiana Tech CB Amik Robertson - [Click here]