NFL Draft Profile: North Carolina Quarterback Sam Howell

by Pat Pryor
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North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell enters the 2022 NFL Draft class as one of the top quarterbacks in a weak class. Howell holds several school records: career passing yards, touchdowns, passing touchdowns, and single season passing touchdowns, and several other scoring records. He only missed one game in career.

Howell was the 2019 Military Bowl MVP, 2020 Second-Team All-ACC, 2019 Third-Team All-ACC, and 2019 ACC Rookie of the Year. At UNC he had one upper body injury with no longl-asting concern. He’ll be attending the Senior Bowl on the Lions’ American Team.

NFL Draft Measurables

Height 6’0, 2/8” Wingspan 75-5/8” Vertical Player Meaning
Weight 220 40-time N/A Bench Player Meaning
Hand 9-1/8” Shuttle N/A 3-Cone Player Meaning
Arm 31-1/8” Broad Jump N/A RAS Player Meaning

 

How We Grade

Grade Player Meaning Grade Player Meaning
9.5-10 Generational Player 6-6.4 Average Starter
9-9.4 Perennial All-Pro, Top of Position 5.5-5.9 Below-Average Starter
8.5-9 Perennial Pro-Bowler 5-5.4 Developmental Player
8-8.4 Very Good 4.5-4.9 Special Teams Player
7.5-7.9 Talented Player 4-4.4 Practice Squad
7-7.4 High-End Starter 3-4 Journeyman PS
6.5-6.9 Above-Average 0-2 Free Agent

NFL Draft Evaluation

Trait Grade Trait Grade
Arm Strength 7.25 Athleticism 7
Arm Talent 6.75 Decision-Making 6
Short Accuracy 6.5 Processing 5.5
Medium-Deep Accuracy 6 Productivity 6.5
Mechanics 6 Football IQ 5.75
Footwork 6.25 Size 6.25
Pocket Presence 6
Scrambling/Mobility 7 Overall 6.37

Strengths

Sam Howell has solid arm strength in this NFL Draft class. Has the ability to put up good deep throws. Quality athlete with nice escapability. He saw a great increase in rushing production. He has nearly every scoring record at UNC despite a down year. Good footwork, keeps his feet square and steady yet light. Solid release, somewhat unique mechanics but it works. Doesn’t throw a lot of interceptions or super risky throws. Tough player, willing to take a hit. Has the arm to make most throws. Doesn’t lead receivers into hard hits. Does go through his reads and is safe decision maker.

Weaknesses

Sam Howell stares down receivers for far too long. Routes will certainly get jumped in the NFL until he sees improvement with his game pace. Highly inconsistent arm talent and deep accuracy for this NFL Draft class of quarterbacks. Average pocket presence but can get jittery and leave pocket too early. Will sometimes make poor decisions while under pressure. Not very quick through progessions.

Summary

In this NFL Draft class, Sam Howell is one of the top quarterbacks. Howell came into the season with many hoping he’d take a step and establish himself as a top quarterback prospect. However, he never did, and didn’t match his 2020 season after losing the best of his supporting cast to the draft.

Despite this, he finishes as one of the productive quarterback in UNC history. He has some bright moments, but can also just appear as a game manager. If a team thinks they can crack into the higher end of the game, he may be worth taking a shot on. He’s a fiery competitor and will likely compete for any shot he is given.

Floor: Game Manager/Backup
Ceiling: Average Starter

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