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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Santonio Holmes In Miami Dolphins Draft Sights - Palm Beach Post

Holmes could be in Dolphins' plans

By Jeff Darlington
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

She never wanted her baby to fly so far away.

Yet Patricia Brown never argued. Never told her son he was wrong. Never questioned aloud his dreams, the ones that led Glades Central High School receiver Santonio Holmes to his college football career at Ohio State.

"I just thought it was a far place for him to go," Brown said, recalling her son's decision to leave South Florida four years ago. "But he said it's where he wanted to go. He said there were more opportunities than anywhere else."

As it turns out, those opportunities might earn Holmes a one-way ticket back to his mother's home — as a Dolphins draft pick.

Holmes is one of a several prospects in Saturday's NFL Draft projected to land somewhere in the range of the Dolphins' first-round pick — No. 16.

The Dolphins are looking for cornerbacks, linebackers, offensive linemen and receivers and Holmes certainly fits the description of what coach Nick Saban is looking for in a playmaker.

"Typically, people who can score touchdowns or create big plays, whether they affect the quarterback on defense or make the plays down the field, are guys that have a little bit more impact," said Saban, who has said his picks will be based more on the value of a particular player than on a need for a specific position.

In several recent mock drafts, Holmes has been listed all over the board — sometimes early in the first round and other times late. Todd McShay, an analyst for Scouts, Inc., has Miami selecting Holmes.

That's not a stretch, considering that the Dolphins would like to add a third receiver behind Chris Chambers and Marty Booker.

Holmes — and Florida receiver Chad Jackson — has had a pre-draft meeting with the Dolphins.

"Holmes and Jackson will probably be the only two receivers drafted in the first round," said Frank Coyle, head scout and draft analyst for draftinsiders.com. "You could make a case for three or four clubs taking (Holmes) in the middle of the first."

When Holmes, a junior, declared early for the draft, he was considered the top receiver in the class. But while his top-10 potential has slipped, Jackson's stock has risen after he posted his fastest 40-yard dash times at the scouting combine.

That's not to say Holmes isn't getting some long looks. He finished his three-year Ohio State career with 140 catches, including 25 touchdown receptions.

"Although he is an underclassman, and he still needs to be polished, he's an explosive playmaker," said Chris Landry, a former NFL scout who now serves as a consultant to NFL teams. "He has long arms and he's really strong in the lower body. He also has the speed to consistently beat defenders."

Any recent drops in Holmes' draft projections haven't affected his confidence. At 5-feet-10, 198 pounds, he described himself at the scouting combine as an "all-around playmaker.... One of the best wide receivers possibly in the game right now."

"Looking at all the things I've accomplished — the way I play on the field, the way I block, carry myself, leadership — I have all the ability to be a great wide receiver," Holmes said.

This weekend, Holmes will return to South Florida from Ohio, where he is currently pursuing his degree. Hundreds of family and friends are expected at his mother's home on draft day.

There, they'll watch with Patricia Brown to see if her baby is coming back to South Florida.

"It would probably be too close to home for him," Brown joked. "That means I would have to see him more. It'd be fine with me, but he probably wouldn't like it very much."


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