Former North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell just took part in the program’s pro day as a way to show NFL scouts that he has what it takes to be a franchise guy leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft.
By all accounts, Howell looked petty good tossing scripted passes as he prepares for the annual event in Las Vegas in late April.
For the most part, Howell has been seen as a first-round prospect for well over the past calendar year. As one of the headliners in a weak draft class at quarterback, that might still be the case. However, there’s still some major questions here.
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Who is North Carolina’s Sam Howell?
- A native of North Carolina, Howell played at Indiana Trail High School in his home state — throwing for 13,415 yards with 145 touchdowns while adding 60 scores on the ground.
- Howell initially committed to playing ball at Florida State before flipping his commitment to the Tar Heels on early signing day back in 2019.
- Howell found himself as a four-star recruit and the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the class of 2019, per 247 Sports. It’s the same class that included bigger-name quarterbacks such as Spencer Rattler, Bo Nix and Jayden Daniels.
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Sam Howell college stats and status as an NFL Draft prospect
Howell ended up becoming a full-time starter for the Tar Heels throughout his three-year career in Chapel Hill. He put up some absolutely mind-boggling numbers during that span.
Sam Howell college stats (2019-21): 64% completion, 10,283 passing yards, 1,009 rushing yards, 111 total TD, 23 INT
As you can see, Howell is the most-accomplished quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft class.
In no way does this mean there’s no fault in his game. He’s a little undersized at a bit under 6-foot-1 and struggled with decision-making at times last season. This led to Howell throwing a career-high nine interceptions in 347 pass attempts.
Some will question whether Howell’s profile equates to being a true franchise guy at the next level. But he boast above-average football IQ and the best accuracy in the draft class. Those two things can’t be taught.
Related: Sam Howell and top 2022 NFL Draft QBs
Ideal landing spots for Sam Howell in the 2022 NFL Draft
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
At this point, it would not be a surprise if the likes of Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral and Desmond Ridder were all taken over Howell. If so, the Bucs could find their heir-apparent to Tom Brady with the 27th pick in the first round.
Tampa Bay did select fellow quarterback Kyle Trask in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft. There’s no evidence one way or another that Trask is the long-term solution. At the very least, Sam Howell is seen as a much better prospect than Trask was this time last year.
Lions general manager Brad Holmes will certainly be fielding calls for the 32nd pick in the draft (originally acquired from the Rams for Matthew Stafford). Teams love to move up from the second round to add that fifth-year player option.
But for a Lions squad that still has a need at quarterback with Jared Goff struggling to remain relevant, exhausting this pick on Howell could make the most sense. It’d allow for him to sit behind Goff for a season before taking over. Detroit could then use the second pick of the draft on a player at another position.
New York Giants
New York is yet another team that finds itself with two first-round picks in the coming draft. It also has a need at quarterback with Daniel Jones having proven that he’s not the guy.
Sure the Giants’ brass wants us to believe that Jones can be the guy. We just have not seen it through three seasons. Why not spend their second-round pick (36th overall) on Howell? It almost makes too much sense. Even trading up to the back end of Round 1 would work out here.
By virtue of their blockbuster trade of Russell Wilson, the Seahawks are now in need of a long-term starter. Drew Lock is not going to be the answer moving forward. Meanwhile, Seattle’s initial interest in a trade for Baker Mayfield has given in to white noise from the Pacific Northwest.
With two second-round selections (40th and 41st overall), Seattle suddenly has the draft capital to trade up for someone like Sam Howell while using one of the picks it acquired from Denver for Wilson (ninth overall) on a player at another position.