When former North Carolina Tar heel, WR Mack Hollins’ name was called in the 4th round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the talk by experts and analysts alike, was he would be a special teams stand out. Known for his daring nature in covering kickoff and punt returns , Hollins is considered fearless by some. Capable of playing all four stages of the “3rd-unit”, at a high level, the Eagles seemed to have found another player to add to their league leading special unit.
Despite all the hype surrounding his play on special teams, it was his skill set on the offensive side of the ball, that stood out at times. When you look past his pedestrian career numbers (81 receptions/1,667 yards/20 touchdowns), you find a prospect who has all the tools, to be a day one contributor, and the skill set to become a star.
Although his numbers were no that of a top-10 WR, he did average 20.6 yards per reception, showing the potential of a legit big play maker. His size 6’4, 221 lbs, may be the most intriguing part of his game, as he possesses the body type to bully smaller athletes on the defensive side of the ball. Much like his fearlessness on kickoffs, he plays with a determined nature when going across the middle to catch passes. Capable of playing inside and out, he is a complete match up problem when safeties, nickels, and linebackers are forced to cover him.
When taking on corners on an island, he is capable of using his size to shrug defenders off, and high points passes, and always competes on jump balls. He also possesses the pure speed, to be a real deep threat, and although his forty time was impressive (4.5), he plays faster than his time suggests. What is so impressive about Hollins, is his ability to find and track down deep passes.
On his first day of Rookie mini-camp, Hollins stood out in a good way, with one source telling me
“The minute the kid jogged on the field, I couldn’t stop watching him. He caught smoothly, he ran very well, and his cut ability was off the chart, he ran routes like a speedier, smaller wideout. The more I watched him, the more I liked him , the more I wanted to keep watching him. He is coachable and so the things he is flawed at, he seems to listen on. I liked his approach, and if you didn’t know where and when he was drafted, you would think he was one of these top-10 1st round picks. I know it’s only day one, but the Eagles might have a steal in him, they might have found a player who could be a star.”
The Eagles have struggled heavily at the wide receiver position in recent years, so it wasn’t surprising that they added so much talent this offseason. Although the majority of the press will have their eyes on newly acquired Alshon Jefferey, and Torrey Smith, it is worth remembering to keep the other eye on the young rookie. As he has all the tools that is needed to be a difference maker, one day in this offense.