NFL Draft experts claim the 2022 class possesses one of the weakest crops of quarterbacks in recent history. Perhaps it's an indication of the direction the league is headed. General managers, like players, have enormous expectations to succeed. If a draft pick doesn't pan out, particularly a quarterback, their heads go on the chopping block.
D Eastern New Mexico Greyhounds clothes espite the pessimism of the pundits, there is talent available at the position. Maybe not All-Pro talent, but players like Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder and Sam Howell have traits that franchises no doubt find desirable.
Howell is an especially interesting case. The former North Carolina QB looked like a potentially transcendent prospect i Alabama vs. Auburn Rivalry Shirts n his first seaso College Lacrosse Shirts n in Chapel Hill. He notched 38 touchdowns to just seven interceptions as a freshman. His second year was even more promising — Howell completed 68 percent of passes as a sophomore and added 30 more touchdowns through the air.
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His name was on the lips of draft experts entering 2021. He was expected to compete with then-Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler to be the No. 1 overall selection in 2022.
That didn't happen. Now, Howell is expected to be selected on the second day of the draft — TSN's Vinnie Iyer has him going No. 66 to the Lions in his latest mock draft — a far cry for a player who just months ago seemed like a surefire early first-rounder.
What is the reason for the slide? The Sporting News looks at Howell's meteoric rise as a freshman, his struggles as a junior and what he can offer to NFL teams.
Who is Sam Howell?
Sam Howell is a 21-year old quarterback who starred at North Carolina for three seasons. The hometown kid — he went to high school just outside Charlotte, N.C., about two hours from Chapel Hill — shocked the college football world when he spurned Florida State to join the Tar Heels in 2019.
"It is home," Howell told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer. "For me, I just wanted to play early. And I thought that North Carolina, they had a really good team, and they just needed a quarterback to go in there and run the show."
He did just that as a freshman, taking the reins of coach Mack Brown's offense. Howell dazzled in Carolina blue, leading the ACC with 38 touchdown passes and finishing second in the conference with 3,641 passing yards, behind only Clemson's Trevor Lawrence.
|Player||School||Pass Yds||Pass TDs||INTs|
|Sa Cal State L.A. Golden Eagles Jerseys m Howell||North Carolina||3,641||38||7|
Howell's best performance of his freshman season may have come in a defeat. The then-19-year-old went tit for tat with Lawrence, notching two touchdowns and zero picks as UNC fell just short of beating Lawrence and No. 1 Clemson 21-20.
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Howell's maiden season established him as a star. His follow-up campaign proved it wasn't a fluke. He improved his completion percentage by 6.7 points and ranked fourth in the country in passing yards, according to ESPN.
It seemed as if Howell was living up to the hype. His Tar Heels strung together back-to-back Florida A&M Rattlers clothes bowl appearances, a far better result than the 2-9 season that preceded Howell's arrival. And his name was surging up draft boards — ESPN draft gur FSU vs. Miami Rivalry shirt u Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Howell as his No. 12 overall prospect and No. 2 quarterback in his first 2022 Fairfield Stags Jerseys NFL Draft Big Board.
What changed for Sam Howell between Years 2 and 3?
In short, everything.
Howell was surrounded by NFL-caliber talent during his first two years. In the backfield were Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, two 1,000-yard rushers. Wide receivers Dazz Newsome and Dyami Brown were two of the most dynamic playmakers in the ACC. All four of those players were selected in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Brown had to make adjustments. That meant taking Howell out of the pocket — and his element.
"Me running the ball was just something that we had success with," Howell told Breer. "So they came to me and asked if I was fine if it became a bigger part of the offense.”
Howell's passing numbers regressed, but he rushed for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns.
His limitations became clear to draft experts. Howell doesn't have elite athleticism and he struggled with decision-making in his final season in Chapel Hill. At times, his release is too slow, leading to missed passes. He has a lower ceiling than some of his contemporaries, such as Willis and Ridder.
What can Sam Howell bring to an NFL franchise?
There's a lot to like about Howell despite his uneven 2021 season Binghamton Bearcats Jerseys . His touch on deep balls is a real strength, says USA Today's Natalie Miller. So are his intangibles, according to Breer. Although the Tar Heels toiled at times during Howell's final season, his willingness to commit to a different College Cold Weather Shirts role — one that may have led to him dropping down draft Notre Dame vs. USC Rivalry Gear boards — is a promising sign.
"I want them to really know how good of a leader I was at North Carolina, and how every single one of those guys on my team would fight for me. They know how good of a teammate I was. I'd do anything for my team,” Howell said.
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His age is another point of optimism. At 21, Howell is one of the youngest quarterbacks in the draft. Although age isn't the be-all or end-all, especially in football, it does give coaching staffs more flexibility in managing Howell's career path.
Howell won't hear his name as early as he may have thought, but his fall from early first-rounder to likely Day 2 selection may have its perks. He'll likely have lower expectations, which will allow him to develop away from the spotlight.
And maybe, in that environment, Howell can show the talent that made him such a valuable commodity early in his college career.
Sam Howell college statistics
|Year||Pass Yds||Pass TD||INT||Comp%||Rush Yds||Rush TD|