Monday, July 4, 2022

2022 NFL Draft grades: Washington Commanders pick QB Sam Howell at No. 144 overall

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USATSI

With the No. 144 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Washington Commanders have selected quarterback Sam Howell out of UNC. 

Throughout the pre-draft process, Howell has been one of the more intriguing prospects to follow. Entering the season, he was projected to be a top-10 pick, but his stock did fall after a 2021 campaign where he threw a career-high nine interceptions while notching lows in passing yards (3,056) and passing touchdowns (24). That said, Howell still left the Tar Heels as the most prolific quarterback in program history, holding the school’s all-time passing yards and passing touchdowns records among others. 

Not only has Howell shown an ability to make plays with his arm, but he was a much bigger threat with his legs during his junior season. In 12 games last year, he rushed for 828 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Grade: A

Game needs fine-tuning — pocket presence, deep ball accuracy — but he’s young with a strong arm and lots of toughness. Will not be able to run like he did in college but this is quality value and Carson Wentz insurance. (Chris Trapasso) 

Scouting report

Rating: 85.62 (Long-term starter)

Pro Comparison: Baker Mayfield

Strengths: Smaller, thickish aggressive QB with a gritty and frentic playing style. Arm strength pops when kept clean. Super-tough runner who will fight through contact to get extra yardage. Big-time throw ability and willingness definitely there when protected well. Huge producer early in his collegiate career.

Weaknesses: Not an arm-talent specimen who’ll rip big-time throws when on the run or off balance. Bounces around in the pocket but is often too antsy and pulls it down to run too quickly. Athleticism is respectable but he won’t be a designed-running threat in the NFL like was in college. Accuracy is very hit or miss. Not a liability nor a strength right now. A little raw at reading coverages/making the correct decision. Willingness to stretch it vertically more impressive than his downfield touch right now.

Accolades:

  • Second in ACC history in career pass efficiency (164.2)
  • Third in ACC history in career pass TDs (92)

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