It’s only week 8 of the 2012 NFL season, but it is time for the Dallas Cowboys to start preparing for next year. There is nothing new or exciting coming out of Valley Ranch, and there are a bazillion sports writers covering the games, so I am going to start my scouting reports for 2013. Over the final weeks, I will randomly profile different draft prospects for 2013. As you all know, things usually change after the combine, pro days and visits with teams. Projections are like dotcom stocks; they are very unpredictable. Either way, I will pick my players and after the season ends, start doing my mock drafts. For the next 8 weeks I will cover top players. As usual, during the offseason, I will do my “The Guys No One Is Talking About” series.
Khaled Holmes, Center
6-3 305 5.17 40
Ranked #1. Projected: 2nd to 3rd round
2012: The dependable Holmes, a Rimington Award nominee and also an Academic All-American candidate, will start for his third season on the offensive line (his second year as the starting center) as a senior in 2012.
2011: Holmes started for his second season on the offensive line as a junior in 2011, performing exceptionally well at center after playing offensive guard in 2010. He made the 2011 All-Pac-12 second team and the Phil Steele All-Pac-12 second team. He was moved from guard to center in 2011 during a spring practice. He missed 2011 spring practice because of a shoulder injury.
2010: Holmes started every game in 2010 at right offensive guard as a sophomore, and he did a commendable job. He made 2010 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mentions.
2009: Holmes was a backup offensive guard as a redshirt freshman. He appeared briefly in 3 games in 2009 (San Jose State, Washington State, Arizona State).
2008: Holmes redshirted as a freshman offensive guard in 2008, his first year at USC.
HIGH SCHOOL: His 2007 honors include: Prep Star All-American, EA Sports All-American third team, ESPN 150, Super Prep All-Farwest, Prep Star All-West, Long Beach Press-Telegram Best in the West Best of the Rest, Tacoma News Tribune Western 100, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, All-CIF Pac-5 Division first team, Los Angeles Times All-Star, Orange County Register All-Orange County first team and All-Trinity League Co-Lineman of the Year as a senior offensive lineman at Mater Dei High in Santa Ana (Calif.).
As a junior in 2006, he made Cal-Hi Sports All-State second team, Cal-Hi Sports All-State Underclass first team, Los Angeles Times All-Star, and All-Trinity League first team.
He was named to the 2005 Cal-Hi Sports All-State Sophomore first team. Current Trojans Matt Barkley, Victor Blackwell and Max Wittek also prepped at Mater Dei.
PERSONAL: Khaled Holmes received his bachelor’s degree in communication at USC in the spring of 2011; he has also begun work on a Master’s degree in Communication Management. He has a B average (3.31 GPA). He made the 2011 Pac-12 All-Academic second team. He made 2010 Pac-10 All-Academic honorable mention. He and 15 of his USC teammates spent 5 days in Haiti in the spring of 2012 building homes and assisting those in need. His father, Mike, lettered at defensive end at Michigan in 1974 and 1975. His brother, Alex, was a 4-year (2000-02, 2004) letterman tight end at USC who had 82 career receptions and was a member of USC’s 2003 and 2004 national championship squad, and then played with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2005. His brother-in-law is former USC (1999-2002) All-American and current NFL All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu. — (USC Football)
Holmes has a wide body and does a nice job at any position on the interior of the offensive line. His versatility increases his value because he can play guard in a pinch. He is a stellar protector who is quick off of the snap and strong at the point of attack. He is agile and has the burst to handle combo blocking, but at times he gets beat when asked to pull. He is quick for a big man and has good upper and lower body strength to get push as a run blocker. He is a great candidate for a power based offense who wants to be able to run the ball. He is also very effective as a pass protector. He needs to refine his technique as a center because 2011 was his 1st year playing the position, but he has shown that he has all the necessary tools to play center at the next level.
Barrett Jones, OG
6-4 304 5.28 40
Ranked #1. Projected: 1st round
• Veteran leader of the Tide’s Offensive Line
• Outland Trophy Winner
• Winner of the ARA Sportsmanship Award and the Wuerffel Trophy
• Unanimous First-Team All-American (AFCA, AP, Walter Camp, FWAA, Sporting News, ESPN.com, SI.com, Rivals.com and CBSsports.com)
• First-Team All-SEC (AP & Coaches)
• Awarded Jacobs Blocking Trophy (top offensive lineman in the SEC)
• Semifinalist for the Lombardi Award
• Consensus midseason All-American
• Cleared many paths for Heisman Trophy finalist Trent Richardson, who lead the SEC with 1,583 yards and 23 total touchdowns
• He graded out first or second on the Alabama offensive line in nine of 10 games.
• He has faced seven of the nation’s top-50 defenses.
• He’s started 10 games at left tackle.
• He has played four positions along the offensive line in 2011, including center.
• The only position he didn’t play in 2011 is right guard, but he started 25 games at right guard during the previous two years.
• He has blocked in twenty-five 100-yard rushing games during his career, including nine in 2011.
• Barrett Jones graded out at 90 percent or better in four games.
• On 587 snaps, Jones only missed 9 assignments (98.5 percent on assignments).
• In the first 4 games this season, Jones has been 100 percent on assignments.
• Jones was responsible for just three sacks all of last season.
• Started 35 career games: at right guard (25) and left tackle (10 in 2011)
• SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week (Arkansas)
• Two-time UA Offensive Player of the Week
Some projections show Jones as the 2nd ranked guard in the 2013 draft. But after watching the tape, and taking into consideration the unusual amount of diverse experience he has, I think Barrett Jones is hands down the best OG in the draft. I think he is better than last years top ranked offensive guard David DeCastro because of his versatility. For a career guard to be able to move over and play LT (10 starts) against the top pass rushers in the SEC is a feat in itself. This shows his athleticism and agility. In 2011, Heisman candidate Trent Richardson rushed for over 1,500 yards behind him. He only allowed 3 sacks on the season filling in at LT. It is no easy feat earning 1st Team All SEC. Most people would agree: most of the best pass rushers usually come out from the SEC.
Jones has anchored the offensive line of the current #1 ranked Crimson Tide with authority. Perhaps more importantly, Jones is clearly the leader of that nation leading group.
Jones is explosive off of the line and attacks with power and quickness. He has excellent technique and is a road grader as a run blocker. In pass protection he glides back with ease and slides side to side with the best of them. He has excellent footwork and usually does a excellent job of controlling his pad level. He has good upper and lower body strength. He plays with good leverage and is able to control most defenders with ease. He is renowned for getting to the second level and eagerly taking on another would-be tacklers. Barrett Jones has shown, against some of the nation’s best defenses, that he can do everything a NFL guard needs too do. He is effective in pass protection, but he has the athleticism to do a good job pulling for his running backs. He is good at reading stunts and blitzes. He exhibits excellent work ethic with a high football IQ.
In addition to all the physical skills and tools that Barrett Jones has, he is also a natural leader. Having the personality to be a great leader is rarely, if ever, something that can be taught.
I know Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones has issues when it comes to drafting offensive linemen in the 1st round, but Barret Jones should be a no brainer for a franchise that continues to struggle (since that appalling loss to Minnesota in the playoffs) with the interior of their offensive line. The Dallas Cowboys need a young stud to anchor the middle of their offensive line. Until Jerry Jones recognizes that it all starts up front, the Dallas Cowboys offense will continue to linger at the bottom of the NFL in scoring and rushing TD’s.