With their first pick on day three of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles took maybe the most intriguing player in the draft, at least at wide receiver. Mack Hollins had just 71 career receptions in four years at North Carolina, but 20 of them went for touchdowns. He’s a 6’4, 220 pound track star at wide receiver who also excels on special teams.
Hollins is part Riley Cooper(because of his ability on special teams, not the racism) and part DeSean Jackson. He is a dangerous deep threat and a great gunner on kick coverages. He’s also an outstanding blocker in the run game and typically takes his man completely out of the play.
Hollins will probably never catches 40 passes in one season nor will get eclipse the 1,000 yard mark, but he’s so valuable because of his impact in the run, pass and special teams phases that he could develop into the best non-starter on this roster pretty quickly.
WEAKNESSES- There are two major flaws in Hollins game, but neither are weaknesses that can’t improve with more reps and better coaching. First off , his hands are an issue. There weren’t many drops on tape, but every catch he did make it seemed like he nearly dropped the pass. He’s not a natural hands-catcher and he bobbles a lot of passes he brings in. The only other prospects I saw on tape that I thought had worse hands at receiver were Josh Reynolds and Eric Saubert, but all three guys separate quickly so the hands issue takes a back seat.
The other flaw with his game is really just inexperience as a route runner. UNC really only asked him to run go routes and slants and sometimes a quick comeback route. If he was asked to be a starter right away this would really concern me, but he’s not. He’s going to be the 4th or 5th wide receiver on this roster and he won’t need an advanced route tree right away.
STRENGTHS- Hollins is so quick off the line and he gets to his top speed fairly early on the deep routes. He’s difficult to press because of his size and quickness off the line, so he really forces defenses to keep a safety over the top because few corners can stay with him stride for stride.
Hollins is a blocker is a nightmare for corners. He’s so physically gifted, but he’s also a former walk-on and he still plays like one. He gets after it in the run game or blocking downfield for another receiver. He consistently takes his man completely out of the play. You can motion him out as a lead blocker, similar to an undersized tight end, or use him as the lead blocker on outside screens, either way he always does his job.
On special teams you have an elite cover man on kicks and a good blocker in the return game. Again, the size, strength and speed makes him such a valuable asset here. He’s bigger and fast than 99% of the players he goes up against on special teams as a gunner.
NFL PROJECTION- I don’t see Hollins developing into a reliable every down receiver, but he’s a player you can mix in to your offense that defenses have to respect and he should be a dominant player on special teams for the next decade.