Ohio State wide receiver Santonio Holmes, regarded by many teams as the top prospect at his position in the 2006 draft, has addressed a weighty matter that had troubled some scouts.
During a private workout on Friday for Miami Dolphins coaches and personnel officials, Holmes weighed in at 187 pounds, just one pound shy of his normal playing weight. Why was that so important? Because at a phase of the draft evaluation process in which scouts are examining every perceived wart, teams had been concerned about Holmes' weight loss earlier this month.
At his "pro day" workout March 9 on the Ohio State campus, Holmes had weighed just 179 pounds. Two weeks before that, at the NFL combine sessions in Indianapolis, his official weight was 188 pounds.
"I think what scouts didn't realize at the 'pro day' was that I had been fighting the flu for about a week," a relieved Holmes said after the session Friday with a group of Miami officials that included head coach Nick Saban. "I was on antibiotics, to try to fight the flu off, and they made me nauseated, and I couldn't eat. But even with all that, I thought I had a good enough workout that [my weight] shouldn't have been an issue."
In that workout, Holmes, who did not run the 40-yard sprint at the combine, was clocked between 4.32 and 4.36 seconds by most scouts. That's the kind of blistering 40 time most had anticipated from Holmes, one of the top big-play threats in the draft pool, and a guy who averaged 15.5 yards every time he touched the ball for the Buckeyes as a receiver, runner and return man.
Some scouts, though, already had a few questions about Holmes' durability, even though the 5-feet-10 5/8 wide receiver never missed a college game because of injury. They closely scrutinized the weight loss, and privately fretted about Holmes' stamina.
"I understand they worry about all that stuff but, if they just go back and check, they'll see that I've played my entire career here in the 188[-pound] range, took a lot of hits, and got up," Holmes said. "I never had a major injury, and I played in a big-time conference. But I guess [the weight] was important to them, and so I made sure, after I shook the flu, to eat three meals every day and to get back to where I'm supposed to be. Unless I get sick again, and that was a fluke, believe me, I'll be 187-188 when teams come to see me. It's not like I've ever had a problem keeping weight on."
With general manager Randy Mueller throwing to him on Friday, Holmes reportedly caught the ball well.
By the time Holmes enters his first NFL training camp, he figures his weight can in the 192-pound range, because he hopes to add a bit more bulk to help him deal with the rigors of the next level. Anything more than that, Holmes said, and he probably wouldn't be comfortable.
In his three college seasons, Holmes caught 140 passes for 2,295 yards and 25 touchdowns. Although his receptions fell off slightly in 2005 from the previous season, his average per catch improved by 4½ yards and he scored 11 times. Holmes also returned 38 punts for a 10.1-yard average and one touchdown during his OSU career, and averaged 22.4 yards on 19 kickoff returns.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.