Jevon Holland celebrates after sacking Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan during the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Jevon Holland celebrates after sacking Wisconsin quarterback Jack Coan during the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marcio Jose Sanchez

B.C.’s Jevon Holland drafted by Miami Dolphins, 1st Canadian player chosen in NFL draft

Holland, the 1st Canadian chosen, was the 4th pick of the 2nd round. Two more Canadians were drafted in the 3rd round.

After having to sit through the entire opening round of the NFL draft without being taken, Canadian Jevon Holland didn’t have to wait long to hear his name called Friday night.

The Miami Dolphins selected Holland with the fourth pick of the second round, No. 36 overall. That made the Oregon safety from Coquitlam, B.C., the first Canadian drafted.

“Last night, I was a little tossing and turning but I had a good night sleep,” Holland said during a Dolphins zoom call. “I woke up (Friday) morning and went and worked out, then I sat down and was ready (to hear) my name called.

“I’m blessed the Miami Dolphins, coach (Brian) Flores called my name.”

Two more Canadians were drafted in the third round.

The Washington Football Team took Minnesota cornerback Benjamin St-Juste, a Montreal native, No. 74 overall. Then three selections later, the L.A. Chargers selected Tennessee receiver Josh Palmer, of Brampton, Ont.

The final four rounds will be held Saturday.

Palmer, for one, wasn’t content with merely being drafted.

“Just because the draft is going on doesn’t mean I stop working,” Palmer said during a Chargers zoom call. “This is what I’ve been training for and now that it’s here, it’s time to go take advantage of it and be great.”

As an early second-round selection, Holland can expect to sign a four-year deal roughly worth US$8.7 million with a signing bonus of about $3.7 million.

St-Juste’s four-year contract should be worth around $5.1 million with a $1.069-million signing bonus. Palmer can expect a four-year, $5.03-million deal with a $1.02-million signing bonus.

Holland was surprised to be taken by Miami.

“No, I didn’t have any idea.,” he said. “I’m overjoyed.”

More Canadians are expected to follow. Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard (Sherwood Park, Alta) and linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga (Calgary) and Iowa offensive lineman Alaric Jackson (Windsor, Ont.) have also garnered much NFL interest.

The record for most Canadians taken in a draft is four, set in 2014.

“I love being able to represent the Canadian people,” Holland said. “I’m blessed to be in this position representing that many people.

“I’m just honoured to be here.”

Holland was the second defensive back taken in the second, but first safety in the draft.

Holland, a six-foot, 207-pound junior, opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL draft. Holland said teams asked him about that decision and he didn’t shy away from answering their queries.

“Everybody wanted to know and so I was honest about it,” he said. “That’s the only thing I could be and we just went from there.”

Holland registered 66 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss, and four interceptions in 14 games for Oregon in 2019. He appeared in 27 career contests with the Ducks, accumulating 108 tackles and nine interceptions.

Holland said seeing action as a receiver in high school helped him develop his ball skills.

“I feel like I have a good sense of how the ball trajectory is going to be in the sky and things like that,” he said. “I definitely think that added to my ball skills and ball-hawking ability.”

At Oregon’s pro day, Holland posted 40-yard dash times of 4.46 and 4.48 seconds. He also registered a 35.5-inch vertical jump, a stellar broad jump of 10 feet six inches and 19 reps in the 225-pound bench press.

Holland also offers versatility as he can also play cornerback and return punts.

On Thursday, Miami selected Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle with the sixth-overall pick. Waddle was also a dangerous returner for the national-champion Tide.

“Jaylen, that’s my home boy, he’s a hell of a player,” Holland said. “I’m excited to be a Dolphin with him.

“I’m just looking to be on the field with him and all my other teammates. Whatever the coaches want, man, I’m down to do.”

Holland was invited to this year’s NFL combine, but the league eliminated in-person workouts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holland comes by his football prowess honestly. His father, John, was a defensive back in both the NFL (San Francisco 1992-93) and CFL (1990, 1993-97 with B.C., Edmonton and Saskatchewan).

“My dad and brother both played football,” Holland said. “It’s really just me trying to follow in their footsteps.

“And then … kind of adapting a passion for myself and I ended up falling in love more with the game at that point.”

The six-foot-three, 205-pound St-Juste, 23, played in five of Minnesota’s seven games this season. He registered 14 tackles and broke up three passes while earning academic All Big-10 honours.

“One of the exciting things about him is his physical play, his physical nature,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said during a zoom call. “(He’s) a guy who will come up to the line of scrimmage and be physical and a guy who will tackle.”

St-Juste began his college career at Michigan, playing as a freshman in 2017 before redshirting in 2018 due to a hamstring injury that ultimately affected his scholarship status. He transferred to Minnesota in 2019, appearing in all 13 games (starting nine) and finished tied for the team lead with 10 pass breakups.

St-Juste showed versatility at the Senior Bowl in January, performing well at both cornerback and safety. He was also invited to the NFL combine but that event was held virtually, putting more weight on St-Juste’s performance in Mobile, Ala.

“He did a really good job at the Senior Bowl, he caught my eye there,” Washington GM Martin Mayhew said. “The guy is six foot three, he runs well, he uses his hands and length well.

“A lot of time you see big corners and they’re not as aggressive at the line as they could be. This guy utilizes his length at the line of scrimmage. He brings a lot to the table as far as his overall skillset and his size.”

St-Juste’s father, Wilbert, played safety for the University of Miami in 1989.

The six-foot-one, 210-pound Palmer had 99 catches for 1,514 yards and seven TDs while starting 36 games at Tennessee. He also impressed at the Senior Bowl, practising well and catching a TD pass in the game.

“I’m coming to work,” Palmer said. “Man, you’re going to get everything out of me.

“I don’t really care what role I have, I’m going to learn, you’re going to get everything from me and we’re going to win some games. We’re going to win some championships.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

NFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penticton Vees celebrate a goal in their second win to start their season on Saturday night at the SOEC. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees head into final weekend tied for first in league

The Vees have two games to take the top spot

Kelsey Johnson, the City of Penticton’s manager for parks and recreation, was recognized by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association as an emerging leader for her work. (Submitted)
National recognition for Penticton’s head of parks & rec

Kelsey Johnson was deemed an emerging leader by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association

Coronavirus 3D illustration. (CDC photo)
Two Summerland businesses closed due to COVID-19

The businesses are listed on the Interior Health website

Memorials have been set up to honour those who died during the Second World War. (Pixabay.com)
COLUMN: It’s time to stop making comparisons to Hitler

The deadliest, most destructive war in human history should not become a metaphor

Oliver’s Fairview Bridge needs work to remove the lead-based paint, but it may cost the town more than they’re currently willing to pay. (Google Maps)
Oliver bridge work may not happen until 2022

Bids for the project came in over what the town had budgeted

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Officials are surveying the streets of Vernon to get a better sense of the issue of homelessness in the city, as part of the province’s point-in-time homeless count for 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Province conducts homeless count in Vernon

It’s the first time Vernon has been included in the provincial homeless count

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

A proposed development would see two four-storey affordable housing complexes erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)
Local tenants to be prioritized for Armstrong affordable housing project

Staff have drafted an expression of interest to find a developer to move forward with on the project

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Kelowna OK Tire closed due to COVID-19 exposure

The business will remain closed until May 11

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Most Read