The Washington Commanders selected quarterback Sam Howell betting on the upside after he showed significant promise in his college career. While the future might be bright for Howell, he likely will be a non-factor in 2022.
Washington made significant changes to its quarterback room this offseason, paying a steep price to acquire Carson Wentz as the starter and leader of its offense. It bumped Taylor Heinicke to the backup role, seemingly providing the Commanders with plenty of quarterback depth.
As the 2022 NFL Draft rolled on, though, Howell kept falling. Once viewed as a consensus first-round talent and a potential Heisman Watch candidate, the 6-foot-1 quarterback’s stock plummeted in 2021. When he was still available at No. 144, Washington didn’t hesitate to snag him.
- Sam Howell college stats (career): 10,283 passing yards, 92-23 TD-INT, 63.8% completion rate
Heading into his first NFL season, practice reps have been a bit hard to come by for Howell. The Commanders want to fully integrate Wentz into the new offense, allowing him to develop chemistry with the receivers and master the intricacies of the scheme. With Heinicke also on the roster, it’s left a limited number of reps for Washington’s rookie signal-caller.
While there is definite excitement for Howell long-term, it seems his role for the Commanders heading into the 2022 season is largely defined. According to John Keim of ESPN, Howell is essentially locked in as the third-string quarterback for the 2022 season.
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He will get plenty of snaps in the preseason, experiencing the faster pace of the NFL and learning to make adjustments in-game and during the week. However, even his outlook for 2023 isn’t especially promising. Keim also notes that Howell might only have a shot to be the backup quarterback next year.
While the Commanders like Howell, the front office and coaching staff is even more sold on Wentz as the long-term solution. Recent history suggests that could change within a year, but Washington isn’t going to provide any hint of doubt months after a deal that NFL executives ripped the front office for making.