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The NFL draft is under a week away now and among the UNC football prospects that will hear their name called is quarterback Sam Howell.
At one point, Howell was considered a first-round prospect in a somewhat weak quarterback class. But as the weeks have gone on with the scouting combine and pro days, Howell’s stock appears to be slipping a bit. And now he is more likely to hear his name called on Day 2 rather than the first round.
Tyler Forness of NBC Sports Edge looked at the prospects whose average draft position in mocks and breakdowns are rising and falling. Unfortunately for Howell, he’s a prospect that is falling:
North Carolina QB Sam Howell: ADP of 36.9
Viewed by many as the top quarterback in the class going into the season, Howell did not have the strongest junior year after losing four NFL-caliber weapons. The Tar Heels did see the emergence of both Josh Downs and Ty Chandler to help compensate, but they weren’t enough to match the success they saw in 2020. Howell proved to be tough as nails this past season, setting career highs in rushing yards, attempts, and touchdowns.
Why he is likely to fall is not due to overall talent. He has an above-average arm paired with good athleticism and rushing ability. It has everything to do with play style and potential limitations. Howell is way too risk-averse in everything he does. He doesn’t have the gusto to make the big boy throws, which is what makes the Baker Mayfield comparisons relatively absurd. Howell relied way too much on tucking the ball and running when there were plays to be made down the field. He also is coming from a college offense that is predicated on pre-snap reads with little to no progressions. Those are similar issues with Corral, but we also have seen him throw the ball with gumption into tight windows, providing more evidence that his game will translate. Howell likely slides to the back end of Round 2 or possibly lower with a lot of eyes on the 2023 quarterback class.
What is good for Howell is that teams often take chances on quarterbacks whether it’s considered a reach or not. That could benefit him in terms of possibly going in the first round.
And until the draft actually happens, no one knows where Howell will land.
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