No one has every doubted Gerod Holliman's ability to be a ball hawk in the back end of the secondary. Why would someone question a player who lead the NCAA with 14 interceptions, but more importantly, why would a player with such tremendous ball skills fall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 7th round? Fans who follow the black and gold know the answer to that question, and the answer is his ability, or inability, to tackle.
Holliman is going to have every chance to prove his toughness and tackling ability in training camp, but the way things have been panning out for him through the first week of camp, he will get to show Mike Tomlin, Keith Butler and Carnell Lake he is more than capable of playing football at the NFL level.
Veteran, and backup, safety Will Allen hasn't suited up for a training camp workout yet, and it isn't due to injury but due to his age and Mike Tomlin wanting to keep him fresh for the 2015 season. For the first padded practice Wednesday, starting safety Mike Mitchell was also sidelined by the coach. With this move it left just a handful of safeties to get the job done in the back end.
If there was ever a chance for Holliman to prove his lack of physicality was nothing more than him protecting himself through a shoulder injury, it would have been Wednesday when the players donned pads for the first time and his reps surely increased significantly.
Holliman is quite the enigma, and will have to prove himself not only on the defensive half of the football, but also on special teams if he expects to make the Steelers 53-man roster. Luckily for Holliman, the Steelers have 5 preseason games and an extra week of training camp for him to show what he can do at the NFL level. At this point, it is just a matter of Holliman proving to himself, and to coaches, he is capable of being a well-rounded safety at the professional level.