Jacob Hollister Film Review: Patriots Tight End Brings Big-Play Potential

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Jacob Hollister hasn’t received very much individual attention since he signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted free agent.

That’s because the Wyoming tight end’s twin brother, Cody, a wide receiver out of Arkansas, also signed with the Patriots. Get ready to hear “and Cody” whenever you hear Jacob’s name. Or, they’ll just be referred to as “the Hollister twins” throughout OTAs, minicamp, training camp and the preseason.

There isn’t enough tape on Cody to truly break down his game. He mostly was used as a special teamer at Arkansas, only catching 27 passes for 342 yards with one touchdown in three seasons.

Jacob was the more highly touted prospect, and his contract with the Patriots bears that out. He signed a deal with $90,000 in guaranteed money while Cody has $20,000 in guarantees. For an undrafted free agent, $90,000 is a lot of guaranteed money, and it means Jacob has a legitimate chance at earning a roster spot with the Patriots.

Watching Hollister, who’s 6-foot-4, 239 pounds and ran a 4.64-second 40-yard dash with a 36 1/2-inch vertical leap, a 10-foot, 1-inch broad jump, a 4.34-second short shuttle and a 7.12-second three-cone drill, it’s easy to see why the Patriots were willing to pay extra to bring him in.

He caught 75 passes for 1,114 yards with 12 touchdowns in three seasons at Wyoming, including 32 grabs for 515 yards with seven touchdowns as a senior.

Don’t get Hollister confused with a player like Rob Gronkowski or Dwayne Allen just because he’s listed as a tight end. Hollister was a willing blocker at Wyoming, but he’s not about to drive a linebacker or defensive end down the field. He was effective when asked to block defensive backs, but he understandably was overpowered by bigger players.

That’s because Hollister is a “move” tight end. He can play in-line, but he also came out of the backfield, aligned in the slot and was split out wide at Wyoming. His best attribute is his big-play ability. He caught seven of 11 deep targets for 189 yards in 2016 and added more big plays, like this one, in 2015.

(Hover over video to play. Hollister marked by cursor.)

Hollister gets wide open an unusual amount of times. Sometimes it’s because defenses are inept.

Sometimes it’s because Hollister is good at selling a play fake.

And sometimes it’s because Hollister is adept at getting open on scramble drills.

Hollister doesn’t just haul in deep passes when he’s wide open. He also shows impressive control on contested catches.

Hollister isn’t going to make defenders miss with jukes or stutter steps, but his ability after the catch is underrated.

Hollister will have to prove his ability on special teams to earn a roster spot, because his direct competition is James O’Shaughnessy, Michael Williams, Matt Lengel and Rob Housler. Hollister is a better athlete than at least O’Shaughnessy, Williams and Lengel, and he has more upside as a pass catcher. But he’s also unproven.

Hollister, and his brother, will be fun to watch over the spring and during training camp and the preseason as they fight for some of the final spots on the Patriots’ 53-man roster.

Thumbnail photo via Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports Images

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