By: Alfredo Flores (Twitter: @ChxckenAlfredo)
Player Analysis: Mack Hollins
When going into the fourth round of your rookie draft or wanting to wait on a sleeper post-draft, you should keep one name in mind: Mack Hollins. Surprisingly, he has a similar comp to stud WR AJ Green. Both have the same height and weight but Mack’s arms are slightly shorter (1 1/8”) and his hands are just barely larger (1/2”). At the combine Mack posted a 4.53/40 time, which isn’t too far from the 4.5/40 AJ posted. The only downside of Mack’s time is that he had a hamstring issue after running, resulting in the end of his combine.
One thing to know about Hollins is that he has grinded to get where he is at. Mack was a redshirt walk-on to at UNC in 2012 and spent 2013 on special teams, where he totaled 7 tackles in 8 games. He received a scholarship for the 2014 season and was asked to be the deep threat, winding up with 35-613-8 on a low target share of 11.79% (UNC threw 509 times). Only seeing 4.6 TPG during the ’14 season, to be able to post 8 touchdowns in 13 games tells you one thing: the kid has some wheels. Hollins only saw 60 targets out of the 509 times the Tarheels aired it out. He caught 58% of the passes thrown his way while averaging 17.5 yards per reception & 47.2 yards per game. Hollins didn’t turn the ball over, but did commit two penalties for 10 yards.
Hollins continued to be the deep threat that UNC wanted him to be. He improved on his previous season’s total yards by 132 while catching 5 less passes on 12 less targets and staying consistent with 8 touchdowns on the season (30-745-8). While being able to post more yards on less receptions/targets, it boosted his YPR over 7 yards (24.8) and his YPG by 10 more yards (57.3). The lack of receptions/targets came due to the amount of times UNC threw the ball which was significantly less than the previous season by 101 times. Hollins target share went down only .03% from 11.79% (‘14) to 11.76% (‘15). With the fewer receptions, Mack was able to boost his catch % up to 63% in 2015 from 58% in 2014.
2016 was a shortened season for the senior as he broke his collarbone against Miami. For the 7 games he was able to play he posted numbers similar to his previous two seasons. Hollins got a lower target share of (10%) over those games, and he managed to catch 62% of those passes, ending his senior season with a line of 16-309-4. The shortened senior season left him at a 19.3 YPR, with a college career low of 44.1 YPG, while keeping his TD rate the same throughout his career at 0.6/pg.
Hollins’ status of being the deep threat didn’t change in big matchups. Out of his 8 games facing a ranked opponent, his best came against #6 Notre Dame, where he grabbed 6 of 8 passes for 84 yards and a TD. Hollins total line against ranked teams totaled 21-369-3 on a 11.95% target share, posting a catch rate of 62%, and averaging 17.6 YPR.
To sum up Hollins college career at UNC, he progressed as much as his role of “field stretcher” would allow. He totaled 81 receptions on 134 targets (4.1 TPG), putting him at a catch rate of 61%, 1667 yards (50.52 YPG), 20 touchdowns and a career 20.6 YPR all on an 11.38% target share over 33 games. Of his 20 touchdowns, 14 of them were 30 yards or longer. Hollins had back-to-back games with touchdowns only twice, and scored touchdowns in 3 games in a row (2014) and 4 games in a row (2016) one time each.
The road to being an NFL receiver isn’t easy for anyone, but for Hollins this isn’t the toughest situation he could have landed in. Of the receivers ahead of Hollins, not one of them is signed beyond 2018 without a club option. Alshon is on a 1 year deal, Smith is on a 3 year deal with club options after the season, Matthews is a UFA after the season, and DGB/Agholor are UFAs after the 2018 season. If Hollins can learn from the current starting 3 WRs (Jeffery/Matthews/Smith) this offseason and during the regular season, get some NFL reps under his belt, and develop some strength (got rerouted occasionally at UNC), he has the size/speed combo to potentially be the next AJ Green.
Only time will tell if he will put it all together, but he’s someone worth keeping an eye on. If I have room, I’m stashing based on his work ethic, speed/size, and the uncertain state of the Eagles WR depth chart over the next few seasons.