Hollings tops a list of six players to have declared for the draft. The 5-foot-10, 223-pounder held an impressive workout before more than 20 teams, including the Cowboys, on Tuesday of last week. It is believed that Hollings, who was leading the nation in rushing last season before suffering a torn ACL in his left knee, could go as high as the third round.
As always, any team which selects a player in the supplemental draft, forfeits its pick in the same round for next year's NFL draft in April. According to a source, the Cowboys are very interested in Hollings and are trying to determine when is the right round to make a play for him. The Texans and the Bears, who have higher picks than the Cowboys, are also expected to go after Hollins.
Hollings was prepared to play his junior season at Georgia Tech this year before being suspended for not meeting his academic requirements with the Yellow Jackets. Hollings was actually one of ten football players disciplined by the Georgia Tech athletic department.
The Cowboys are interested in Hollings for several reasons. First and foremost, the kid has talent. He electrified the Yellow Jacket faithful through the first four games of the season last year by exploding through the hole, plowing over defenders, and getting to the endzone with regularity.
At the time of the injury, Hollings had rushed for 633 yards on 92 carries with 11 touchdowns. The 633 yards led the nation and the 11 touchdowns ranked second in the nation.
|Tony Hollings had rushed for 633 yards on 92 carries with 11 touchdowns in just 4 games in 2002 before suffering a torn ACL in his left knee.|
"He did everything that was asked of him and he did not appear to favor the leg," another one scout said. "Running drills in the open field, cuts, and catching the ball, he appeared fluid and healthy. My report on him is favorable."
Hollings a junior, playing his first season as running back for Georgia Tech following two seasons as a safety and special teams player, was showing that he had the skills and ability to be one of the top running backs in the country. The switch made by head coach Chan Gailey was one that Hollings welcomed and a move that appeared to be a natural move for the athletic Hollings.
"I was glad that Coach Gailey had the confidence in me to put me in there and show what I could do," Hollings said. "We needed help in the backfield and I was a back in high school, I wanted the opportunity to come out of the backfield. Everything just seemed to fall into place."
"What we have seen of him (Hollings) on film, he could be a player with a future in the NFL. He ran well here and looks to be rehabbed, the tale tell sign will be when he takes some consistent contact on the knee."
While representatives from numerous teams came away impressed with the workout, not every team is willing to part with a draft selection in the 2004 draft for Hollings.
"The kid looked pretty good, we believe that he had allot of work to do before the injury, now he just has that much more to accomplish before he is an NFL ready player," an NFC scout said. "We were here out of curiosity."
More than a curiosity describes the interest of two team representatives in attendance.
"Coming off a draft where the running back position was overall a weak position, a player like Hollings can fill a need for a team that is looking for a running back in 2004," an NFC scout said. "In a position such as ours, if a running back were available for us to groom, we would definitely take a long look, especially if the price is right."
With all the attention placed on the workout, it is expected that a team will relinquish a draft selection in the 2004 draft for Hollings. The round that a player is selected in the supplemental draft, the selecting team is required to relinquish that choice in the 2004 draft.
"There are a few teams that have expressed an interest in the kid (Hollings)," a AFC player personnel assistant said. "Teams like Detroit and Houston are known to have taken a serious look at him (Hollings), we know that Dallas has a group here, Pittsburgh stands in the background, but have had some thoughts on him, and New England certainly has taken a long look at Hollings."
"One of these teams will select him, getting a quality running back in the league is not that easy to come by."
As the clock ticks down to the supplemental draft, Hollings' agent Todd France is optimistic about the future of his client.
"Many people have come away impressed with what they saw of Tony (Hollings). This kid has what it takes to be a pro running back, speed, quickness, strength, and desire," France said. "If you look at the running backs selected in this past draft, Tony is as good or better than any of them. The team that selects him next week will get a steal of a player."
In the NFL, a deal or a steal is something that many teams will not pass on.