Yet another reason to watch the draft!
Holt to Take Big Stage During Weekend’s NFL Draft
Thursday, April 21, 2005
By Nick Wagoner
Torry Holt’s television experience has seen him take on a variety of situations. Of course, his most famous appearance came on Monday Night Football.
Unfortunately for Holt, that showing wasn’t a three-touchdown performance or a 200-yard game. Although he has had plenty of big games in primetime, Holt’s appearance at halftime of the Sept. 27 Washington-Dallas game is his best-known television effort.
On that now infamous segment known as “You’ve Been Sacked,” Holt was tricked into dressing in some strange costumed after being told he was elected the NFL’s best dressed man. Eventually, offensive linemen Adam Timmerman and Andy McCollum reveal that it was all a setup. The always affable Holt took the joke in stride and ended up getting a laugh out of it.
But Holt’s next television adventure is anything but a joke. He will get his chance to change that indelible “Sacked” image when he travels to New York for this weekend’s NFL Draft. For the first time, ESPN has invited a current player to be on the main set for the duration of its draft broadcast. That player is Holt.
Holt’s whirlwind trip begins with a flight to New York City on Wednesday night and will conclude following Sunday’s draft. Holt was slightly surprised by the invitation, but he is not intimidated about joining the likes of Mel Kiper Jr., Chris Berman and Tom Jackson for the 10-hour broadcast.
“First I was kind of skeptical about it, but then I thought about it and I realized this is a heck of a chance for me,” Holt said. “I am not intimidated because that is what those guys do. That’s what Mel does. I play football, that’s what I do. I am just getting on there and seeing where I fit. I am actually honored and excited to be sitting amongst these guys in front of a huge audience for 10 straight hours.”
Unlike Minnesota’s Corey Chavous, who is known for his love of the draft, Holt says he has never been a “draftnik.” Although he does follow college football, he has never made it a priority to evaluate other players.
“This is the first time I have ever inquired about a lot of guys or even read any literature on the draft,” Holt said. “I am not a big-time draft guy; I am not a big-time scouting guy. That’s not what I like to do. I like to talk about the game and that is all I plan on doing on Saturday.”
The invitation came because of Holt’s prior relationship with ESPN and was excited to get the offer. Gregory Williams, Holt’s agent, received a call a few weeks ago with an invite to join the broadcast. Holt had some experience with the broadcast, appearing on an NFL broadcast with Berman and Jackson during the playoffs.
Initially, Holt assumed this opportunity would be to join in the pre-draft show with Andrea Kramer. When he found out that he was going to be on the main stage, Holt’s excitement grew.
Soon after learning what his role was going to be, the All-Pro receiver began digging in to the draft. He has done extensive homework in the past week, evaluating talent and reading as much as he can about the draft’s top prospects.
“I have been reading a lot of literature about who is coming out, trying to see what team’s needs are, all of that stuff,” Holt said. “There is no way I can learn all of the guys or know all of the team needs, but I can kind of add in and give the panel my perspective of the National Football League as a current player.
Holt has targeted his studies on the receivers and defensive backs, the two positions he would clearly know the most about. Although Holt is probably capable of telling right away whether a player is going to make it or not, especially at those two positions, he says he will not be spouting negatives about anyone.
“I won’t do any bashing or anything like that about any of these guys because I know what it was like coming out (and) being a first round pick,” Holt said. “You already are under enough scrutiny. I am going to be as fair as I possibly can and just have fun with it.”
So far, Holt seems to be having plenty of fun learning about the draft. He says he has enjoyed watching some of the players and has begun to establish a list of players that he likes to succeed at the next level. Oklahoma receiver Mark Clayton, Wisconsin end Erasmus James, Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell, Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers and Florida State tackle Alex Barron top Holt’s early list of players to watch Saturday.
Although Holt will be expected to maintain a certain level of objectivity, he has his own ideas about what he would like to see happen when the Rams come on the clock at No. 19 in the first round.
“We need players that are going to come in and help us right now,” Holt said. “We are only a few players away from getting back to championship-level football. I am hoping that stuff upstairs does a good job of using their minds collectively and coming up with a great draft choice that can come in and make an impact on this football team.”
Of course, Holt has some ideas in mind if the front office wants to take any cues from their newest draft analyst. Like many people prognosticating the draft, Holt points to the offensive line as a place for an upgrade. He tosses out the names of Barron, Oklahoma safety Brodney Pool, Oklahoma tackle Jammal Brown, LSU defensive end Marcus Spears and Georgia end David Pollack as players he wouldn’t mind seeing in his locker room next season.
In the meantime, Holt will take full advantage of this opportunity. He will be in meetings for most of the next few days to prepare and continue watching tapes. Those meetings will help Holt particularly with his ad lib when things change such as trade.
For now, Holt doesn’t know if he wants to have a future in television, but acknowledges that this could be his chance to figure that out.
“This is new for me,” Holt said. “For 10 straight hours of talking football, it’s going to be a challenge for me. This is a chance for me to find out (if I like television). I don’t know what I am going to do when I am done. I may not do anything. I look at it as a steppingstone that maybe I can walk into when I’m done.
“I am just trying to create a lot of avenues that I can take when I am done playing this game and ESPN is allowing me the opportunity to explore that. It’s a great chance and a great opportunity and it’s up to me to hit the nail on the head.”