Top 5 This Week

Related Posts

Dallin Holker displayed playmaking knack with CSU Rams. Could he be Broncos’ answer at tight end?

Colorado State’s Dallin Holker needed only one night in Boulder to show the nation he could be an NFL prospect.

In front of a sold-out crowd at Folsom Field and 9.3 million viewers who tuned into the late-night edition of the Rocky Mountain Showdown between the Rams and CU Buffs, the 6-foot-3, 241-pound tight end shined.

His final line: Six catches, 109 yards and two touchdowns, including a shoestring grab for a catch-and-run 35-yard score in the fourth quarter that was easily one of the most memorable highlights of the night.

Though the Buffs came back to win in double overtime, Holker gained visibility.

“That was the first glimpse that everybody got of who Dallin Holker really is,” said Jordan Pendleton, Holker’s trainer, who has owned a training facility in Utah called Performance One since 2014.

Fast forward to March, and Holker has reaped the benefits of that performance against Colorado and everything else that followed in his lone season with the Rams.

After a strong showing at the NFL scouting combine, Holker participated in the Rams’ pro day on Monday, where more than a dozen scouts watched as he showcased his quickness and caught passes on a variety of routes.

Holker is one of the top tight end prospects in the draft, and it’s hard not to wonder if he would be a fit in Denver. The Broncos could use tight end depth, and Holker — who has hair like Thor, is fluent in Spanish and has a gift for making spectacular catches — could be the answer.

“I love the Broncos,” Holker said on the possibility of playing for Denver. “I lived in Colorado for a little bit and loved it.”

Eye-popping plays seem to be Holker’s specialty — even if it’s by accident.

At the combine while doing the gauntlet drill, which tests a player’s hand-eye coordination and ability to catch passes while moving at full speed, Holker thought he was done after making a two-handed catch. He was wrong.

As Holker started sprinting down the field, he noticed another football coming in his direction, so he tucked the ball inside his left arm before making a one-handed grab with his right. “It was a happy accident,” said Holker.

One of Holker’s best plays from his lone season at Colorado State happened because he was at the right place at the right time. Down six points in the final seconds against Boise State, Fowler-Nicolosi heaved a pass to the end zone, where a pair of defenders tipped the ball before Holker made a diving touchdown grab to secure the comeback victory.

“I put a lot of effort into trying to be the best,” Holker said. “I always stay after (practice to work) with the JUGS machine and tennis balls. I try to do (that) every day, (so) those big moments are like another play, almost.”

Pendleton always believed Holker had the skills to be a reliable pass-catcher. He just needed the right opportunity to show it. A former BYU linebacker, Pendleton has trained Holker since the ninth grade. He said Holker’s ball skills and athleticism stood out from the start.

“He’s had wide receiver skills at a tight end’s size,” said Pendleton, who has worked with newly acquired Broncos linebacker Cody Barton, Bengals running back Zack Moss and Patriots linebacker Sione Takitaki, to name a few.

When Holker was a senior at Lehi High School, Pendleton worked as a coach for Skyridge High School when their schools met in the state championship game. Pendleton said Skyridge’s game plan was simple: stop Holker. Sure enough, Skyridge couldn’t. Holker went off for 151 receiving yards and two touchdowns to lead Lehi to a 55-17 victory.

Holker finished the season with 97 receptions for 1,766 yards — the second-most yards in state history — and 22 touchdowns.

“Aside from his obvious talent, he’s very cerebral,” Pendleton said. “He’s a hard worker, (so) when it comes to studying game tape, he will have no issues.”

During Holker’s three seasons at BYU, he had only 42 receptions for 521 yards and three touchdowns.

When he transferred to Colorado State, Holker’s opportunities, and numbers, drastically improved. He had 64 catches for 767 receiving yards — the most by any FBS tight end during the regular season — and six touchdowns. Rams edge rusher Mohamed Kamara says Holker has “sneaky” speed. Holker had 379 yards after the catch, according to Pro Football Focus.

“You’d think (Holker is) slow, but (when) he catches the ball, he’ll turn up and make a (defensive back) miss,” Kamara said.

Pendleton felt a weight lifted off his shoulders when he watched Holker’s performance against the Buffs because the former three-star recruit got the attention he deserved.

“He is a big-time playmaker that can change the course of a game. It was good to see him finally get the freaking ball,” said Pendleton.

That sort of playmaking is desperately needed by the Broncos, who lacked receiving production from their tight ends in 2023.

The group combined to catch 39 passes for 362 yards and four touchdowns under first-year coach Sean Payton. Adam Trautman led them with 204 receiving yards and three touchdowns. Lucas Krull was second with eight catches for 95 yards and a touchdown in seven games. The rest of the Broncos’ tight ends — Greg Dulcich, Chris Manhertz and Nate Adkins — each recorded fewer than 30 receiving yards.

It didn’t help that Dulcich missed 15 games due to a hamstring injury — an issue that has plagued his pro career thus far. The former UCLA standout also missed seven games as a rookie in 2022.

Although the Broncos re-signed Trautman, the move doesn’t solve their need for a reliable pass-catching tight end. Both his and Adkins’ strong suit is blocking.

Denver could very well solve its problem in the first round of the draft if Georgia’s Brock Bowers, who has all the tools Payton values at the position, falls to No. 12. If the Broncos, however, decide to use their first-round pick on another position, Holker could be a target in the later rounds.

“He’s in the same situation I am in now,” Kamara said. “We’re not super big, we’re not super fast, whatever the case may be. But when it comes to the field, we stand out. That’s what makes him great.”

Want more Broncos news? Sign up for the Broncos Insider to get all our NFL analysis.

Popular Articles