NEXT ON OUR SCOUTING REPORTS IS SAM HOWELL. CHECK OUT SOME OF OUR OTHER SCOUTING REPORTS BELOW
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 225 lbs
- College: UNC
- Year: Junior (JR)
- Position: Quarterback
Sam Howell is one of this years top Quarterback prospects. Depending on who you listen too… Some have him as a day three prospect, others in the first round. With some comparisons to Baker Mayfield, not just play style but look at him, Howell does has a shot at being one of the first Quarterbacks off the board, if he falls to the right team.
A North Carolina native, Sam Howell was born and raised in North Carolina. Playing quarterback at Sun Valley High School, Monroe, North Carolina before joining the Tar Heels at the University of North Carolina having flirted with going to Florida State. Howell was the first ever freshman to win the starting job for the Tar Heels and leaves with numerous school records including most touchdown passes (92) and yards (10,283).
As a freshman (2019) Howell lead the Tar Heels to a 7-6 record, completing 259 of 422 attempts (61.4%). Passing for 3641 yards, 38 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. He also had a rushing and receiving touchdown to boot. As a sophomore (2020) the Tar Heels went 8-4 with Howell completing 237 of 348 (68.1%). Passing for 30 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Adding 5 rushing touchdowns and another receiving score to his resume.
North Carolina had a stellar group of players in 2020; Running backs Javonte Williams (1445 total yards and 22 total touchdowns) and Michael Carter (1512 total yards, 11 total TDs) were drafted 35rd and 107th. Receivers Dyami Brown (1099 yards, 8 TDs) and Dazz Newsome (705 yards, 7 TDs) were drafted 82nd and 221st.
That exodus of talent to the 2021 NFL draft explains why Howell took a little step backwards in his final season. The Tar Heels finished 6-7, Howell completing 217 of 347 attempts (62.5%) for 3056 yards. He passed for 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions and had 11 rushing touchdowns.
Sam Howell has consistently shown he’s an accurate thrower of a football. He doesn’t amazing arm strength but is very accurate throwing the ball all over the field. In some part due to his brilliant footwork, more on that shortly…
As mentioned Howell won the starting job in his first year at North Carolina. Even starting 3 games before he turned 19. Entering the draft at the age of only 21 Howell has lead the Tar Heels for 37 games over 3 seasons. That’s a lot of experience for someone of that age. The experience playing is important as is his experience leading the team. To have that many starts under his belt at such a young age will no doubt attract teams to Howell.
Howell’s footwork is brilliant. He consistently sets his feet well, allowing him to be very accurate with the football. Thanks to his footwork he’s rarely off balance. Allowing him to release the ball quickly and acurately once he’s made his read. He’s able to move in the pocket and take off if needed.
- Athletic Ability
- Down Year
- Accuracy on the Run
Most Sam Howell highlights will feature a video of him running with the ball, be it a RPO or scramble. He can run; he had 1009 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground at North Carolina, but he probably doesn’t have the speed to do so often in the NFL. Expect occasional designed runs and sneaks, similar to his look-a-like Baker Mayfield, not Lamar Jackson style frenetic, make people miss, runs.
Howell had hell of a year in 2020. Leading the ACC in pass completions (237), passing yards (3586) and touchdowns (30). All of which decreased in his final year, down to 217 completions, 3056 yards and 24 touchdowns. His interceptions also rose from 7 to 9 over that spell. Not disastrous and somewhat explainable given the talent that left the team to be drafted (see Background above). But a weak finish may put teams off. It’s always nice to finish with a bang to catch everyone’s eye, in my opinion.
When he sets himself, with his strong footwork and accurate arm, Howell is a great passer of the ball. On the run however he isn’t as precise. With faster, stronger defences in the NFL Howell will inevitably be under more pressure so the ability to throw on the move is key.
In what is a contentious Quarterback class, Sam Howell isn’t the best, but he certainly isn’t the worst out of the top contenders. He was 29 in Owain’s original big board and I think a late first round grade is fair. He’s talented for sure, but still young and didn’t finish as strong as you’d like for someone to spend an early first round draft pick on him.
He’s only 21 and has plenty to learn, if he’s thrown in at the deep end, on a bad team, he may struggle. Howell’s best shot is to be drafted to a team who doesn’t need a quarterback right now. Let him sit for a year or two, work on a few things and get used to the pace of the NFL. I see Howell being drafted late in the first round.
How good of a prospect is Sam Howell? Let us know over on Twitter @NinetynineYards and @I_Am_Beej
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