-- Justin Hollins, OLB
Entering the season, Hollins was a fringe NFL prospect who needed to show off major improvement to compliment his physical gifts. Four games in and it’s safe to say that Hollins is not only on draft boards, he’s rising up them at a fast rate.
He’s using his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame to do a combination of things that should translate well to the NFL.
Despite a lower half that looks small in stature, Hollins has done a phenomenal job of standing strong in the run and getting off blocks.
Last week against Stanford, he did a great job of setting the edge against Stanford’s Bryce Love, forcing Love back to the middle and not letting him get outside. Hollins took on the physical Cardinal offensive linemen and either held his place or shed the block altogether to make the play.
On the season, he’s showing his versatility at rushing the quarterback or dropping back into coverage to fill the stat sheet he’s got 7.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, three forced fumbles, three passes broken up and one interception. He’s the only player in the nation with a full sack in four games this year, and his three forced fumbles lead the FBS.
Hollins’ NFL future appears to be at outside linebacker, so some scouts still want to see if he can keep up this pace throughout an entire season.
He needs to continue to improve his pass rushing abilities, showing off a consistent burst of a first step that enables him to beat tackles to the edge. He also must show that he’s more than just speed when rushing the passer — he needs to show a variety of moves and hand strength to prove he can disengage with blockers.
Hollins is in complete control of his NFL future. The better he plays and the more stats he accrues, the better he will look in the eye of scouts. The physical gifts have always been there but now he’s starting to combine them with mentality of a potential all-Pac-12 player, making his future extremely bright.