As I watched the 2006 NFL Draft, I suspect that I wasn’t alone in wanting the Steelers to draft a wide receiver. It was the thinnest position on the team to begin with and we had just lost Antwan Randle El to free agency. We were picking in my favorite draft spot, dead last!
There were two blue chip wide receivers in that draft, Chad Jackson from
Holmes was the top pedigreed receiver in the country. He was a big-time player in a big-time program. He went 3-0 in bowl games and turned up big when
As the draft unfolded, Holmes was a guy who started falling, there’s a few every year, into the 20s. When Paul Tagliabue announced that the Giants traded pick #25 to the Steelers, I started screaming "Santonio" at the television. Who else would be that important to them? My head almost hit the ceiling when Holmes’ name was called.
Interestingly, it was the Patriots who grabbed
Since then, Holmes has been like a great stock that just keeps rising. In the first half of his rookie season he caught 22 passes for 323 yards. In the second half he caught 27 passes for 501 yards. He scored no touchdowns in the first half and three in the second half (one by punt return). He was used as a return man in the first half and by the second half he impacted three victories with key touchdowns. His rookie season ended when his 67-yard score in overtime ended our season, but so too the Bengals.
His second year was continued improvement. Tone scored seven touchdowns in his first nine games, pretty darn impressive, and passed the century mark twice. Despite the rebirth of Randy Moss and emergence of Reggie Wayne last year, it was Holmes who led the entire NFL in yards-per-reception, a lofty 18.1 YPC.
Consider that Tone missed three games to injury and with one catch against
Santonio Holmes with Mary Rose, my daughter.
With the Steelers adding two more weapons in the 2008 draft, it will not be fair to judge Santonio Holmes on whether he racks up gaudy numbers this season. He is one of many weapons. But one thing for certain, the guy can flat-out ball.