Even though his last season at North Carolina didn't go according to plan from a team standpoint, Sam Howell didn't hurt his standing as one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Heisman Trophy buzz he was generating before the 2021 campaign didn't materialize but Howell put together a third straight productive season as a passer while also showing more as a runner. He has things he can certainly improve on but in the right situation, Howell could develop into a quality NFL starter.
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Sam Howell Draft Profile
College: North Carolina
Howell was one of college football’s most impressive passers from a statistical standpoint the past three seasons, and the traits will translate to the pro game. His arm talent is more in the “good-not-great” category, but he makes up for it with excellent touch as a deep-ball thrower. He’s accurate to all levels, with a quick, compact release that gets the ball out in a flash. He has enough athleticism to move around and make plays off-platform as well, and he has the kind of toughness — both hanging in the pocket and occasionally mixing it up at the end of runs or as a blocker — that will get teammates fired up.
His arm talent isn’t special, and his height is a tick less than ideal to play from the pocket. That might play into his tendency to get loose with his mechanics at the top of his drop, and he’s shown erratic accuracy when operating from a muddy pocket. Getting him into spacious throwing platforms will be key. His eyes are bigger than his stomach on some throws; he’ll try to zip it into a tight window but doesn’t have the requisite velocity.
Howell fits the bill in a highly schemed, boot-heavy offense. It’s fair to wonder how high his ceiling is, considering arm talent and mobility that don’t measure up to some of the athletes at the position. There is clearly starter potential once his mechanics and decision-making get sharper.
Final Grade: 2nd/3rd Round