ATLANTA — UPDATE: Holyfield signed with the Panthers after the seven-round draft concluded. It's a good fit for both parties, since Carolina has yet to find long-term stability with its No. 2 tailback ... after the dynamic Christian McCaffrey.
There's a bad news/good news proposition for not being selected on Day 3 of the NFL draft.
On one hand, it's disheartening not to hear your name called by a league-sanctioned official or any of the three networks carrying this weekend's draft from Nashville.
On the plus side, however, there's a certain charm in dictating your terms and destination as a preferred free agent, which could/should be the case with Elijah Holyfield.
The UGA tailback wasn't snagged in any of the seven rounds; but now, he'll have the freedom to weigh his options – whether it involves more money or a more advantageous spot within another team's depth chart.
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Now comes the hard part: Elijah, the son of boxing icon Evander Holyfield, must convince teams that his collegiate production from last year (6.4 yards per carry) holds greater weight than the player's middling times in the 40 (high 4.7s/low 4.8s).
Holyfield enjoyed much success in Georgia's time-share backfield last year (co-starring D'Andre Swift), rolling for 70-plus rushing yards eight times, despite averaging only 11 carries for the Dawgs' 14-game slate.
Holyfield cracked the 100-yard rushing mark against Middle Tennessee State and Kentucky, but his most famous outings from last year came against South Carolina (8.4 yards per carry) and Louisiana State, when the junior tailback went viral with the bowling-over of an overmatched Tigers defender.
Which begs the question: Can Holyfield become a reliable power runner at the pro level?
Only time will tell. At the very least, he's reached the most crucial one-off decision of his sporting life.