Football

MONDAY MUSINGS: Jaren Holmes, NFL Draft and more

Mar 20, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; St. Bonaventure Bonnies guard Jaren Holmes (5) moves to the basket against Louisiana State Tigers forward Darius Days (4) and forward Josh LeBlanc Sr. (11) during the second half in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Another Monday brings another dreary week in Central Iowa.

It was a busy weekend in Iowa State circles with the addition of St. Bonaventure transfer Jaren Holmes leading directly into the NFL Draft on Friday, with some breaking football news mixed in.

Let’s knock out some quick hits on each of those topics.

*** I love the Holmes addition for T.J. Otzelberger and his staff. The 6-foot-4 graduate transfer from Romulus, Mich. is a proven winner with proven high-level scoring ability.

Holmes scored 38 points for the Bonnies in a win over St. Joseph’s back in Jan. 2021 and scored 20-plus on six other occasions. When he’s right, he’s the type of player who can really fill it up.

I say when he’s right because the significant dip in 3-point shooting percentages (40 percent as a sophomore in 2019-20 to 27 percent in 2021-22) is concerning. I will be interested to see what those numbers look like when he’s not forced to be the primary shooter or scorer all the time.

*** This is also a great pick-up for the locker room. I spoke with Holmes on Friday shortly before he announced his commitment on Twitter.

St. Bonaventure was hosting what I was told is their equivalent of Veishea (RIP) over the weekend and Holmes told me we could talk as soon as he finished playing in a kickball game.

I was blown away by how excited he was to be joining the Cyclones and you could really feel that excitement come through in his answers. We’re hoping to get him on an episode of Corner 3 in the near future so you guys can get a better introduction.

He might even steal Scott Christopherson’s spot on the pod since he’s already got his degree in Sports Media (kidding, Scotty).

Oh, and if you’re wondering, they won the kickball game, too.

*** If you’re looking for a value bet coming out of the NFL Draft, look no further than Iowa State’s own Breece Hall, who is headed to the New York Jets. We all know the kind of impact Breece can make on the field and I’d be shocked if he doesn’t hit the ground running.

He currently sits in the top-5 odds at +700 with most sportsbooks. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a guy more ready to come in, compete and excel right away than Hall.

Does anybody know what the Jets offensive line looks like?

*** How cool was it to hear Brock Purdy’s name called at the end of the draft on Saturday? He’s gotta be one of the more relevant Mr. Irrelevants in recent years.

You have to think the 49ers really wanted him if they were willing to pick him there, too. They weren’t trying to wait and have to mix it up with other teams to land him as an undrafted free agent.

I have no clue how Purdy will fit into the equation in San Francisco, but I’m confident he’ll at the very least carve out a niche as a quality backup in the league.

*** The video of Enyi Uwazurike getting the call from the Denver Broncos in the fourth round on Saturday was one of the best things to come out of the weekend. Few people made a bigger on Iowa State’s defensive resurgence than the versatile defensive lineman from Detroit.

He’s going to a great spot, too. Not sure those AFC West teams can have enough defensive linemen or defensive backs to match up against the quarterbacks in that division.

*** The Ravens hit the tight end jackpot by landing Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar in the fourth round then taking Coastal Carolina’s Isaiah Likely just 11 picks later. Those were two of six picks for Baltimore in the fourth round!

It would be hard to imagine a better scheme for Kolar to land with. He’ll need to grow as a blocker in Baltimore’s run-heavy offense, but he’s got the tools to be productive in the passing game as a rookie.

*** It will be fun to see how many of the Cyclones’ undrafted free agents can stick with their teams.

Mike Rose’s fit with the Chiefs is intriguing. Jake Hummel reuniting with former Cyclone Landen Akers on the Super Bowl champion Rams is awesome. As is Chase Allen teaming back up with David Montgomery in Chicago.

I don’t know about you guys, but my interest in NFL OTAs went up exponentially over the weekend.

*** In the midst of all the good over the weekend for Iowa State football, some bad news struck on Saturday when safety Craig McDonald announced he’d entered his name into the transfer portal.

McDonald was a projected starter and it sounds like just about everyone was surprised to see him leave the program, including a few of his teammates who voiced their confusion on Twitter.

The situation got even weirder when safety Jordyn Morgan made the same move on Sunday.

That’s two guys who would’ve been on the two-deep out in one weekend. I’m not sure how significant those losses will end up being, but it is an obvious hit to the depth of a group that looked primed to thrive with some new blood in starting roles.

*** The blow was cushioned some when Iowa State landed Blinn College defensive back Blake Thompson on Sunday. The 6-foot, 180-pound safety reportedly also had interest from Missouri and Kansas. He’ll have a chance to come in and make an immediate impact.

*** Have a great week everyone, especially if your name is Joel Embiid and you need one of the orbital bones in your face to heal quickly in order to come back for games three and four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Jared Stansbury

administrator

Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.

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