Denver Broncos rookie Alijah Holder was highly prioritized after the 2019 NFL Draft and is finally getting his shot in the final two games of the season.
The Denver Broncos have suffered more misfortune this year on the defensive side of the ball than many NFL teams, but misfortune always paves the way for opportunity for someone.
With Kareem Jackson’s unfortunate and disappointing decision (and now suspension) comes opportunity for young defensive back Alijah Holder, a cornerback by trade who could be switching positions from cornerback (which he played in college) to safety.
Holder was playing some safety in Broncos training camp and preseason action as well as lining up at outside corner, but the fact that he’s being bumped up with Jackson getting suspended seems to indicate to me that the Broncos plan on using him in a safety role.
Which would be smart, in my opinion.
Holder was not playing at 100 percent last year for Stanford, but he gutted it out and played through a knee injury and you could tell it hindered his play speed considerably. This would be speculation, but I wonder if the effects of that injury lingered into the Combine where he ran in the 4.6 range, or if that’s just the kind of player he is.
Now that he’s had time to heal up and practice with the team for a while, I’m really intrigued to see what this kid can do. We haven’t seen much from Trey Marshall, who has been one of the Broncos’ top reserve safeties this year as Will Parks plays in the dime/nickel role.
Holder was one of the Broncos’ highest priorities on the UDFA market this past Spring.
That figure speaks to what the Broncos felt about Holder throughout the process, and we know Vic Fangio and Ed Donatell have a track record of developing somewhat unheralded defensive backs into stars.
Look at what they’ve done this year with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson perhaps becoming the best safety duo in the NFL when Simmons struggled a bit last season and Jackson was playing corner for the Houston Texans.
Although the suspension for Jackson is a huge bummer with how well he was playing, it’s exciting to think that the Broncos will get another look at Holder, who has been developing all year and will now get a chance to prove he belongs on the roster beyond just this season.