NFL Hot Press: Some Teams Have Howell Second-Highest QB

Some Teams Have Howell Second-Highest QB

Updated Dec. 30, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

In the back half of the 2021 college football season, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett emerged as the consensus top quarterback prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft. Pickett had a prolific season similar to LSU’s Joe Burrow in 2019, going from a late-round projection early in the season to a high first-rounder by the end. However a big difference in the 2020 and 2022 draft classes is the quarterbacks after the top rated prospect. In 2020 Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert went in the top-six picks, but this year there is a wide variety of opinions on who is the second rated quarterback. Sources from one team say their second-rated quarterback is North Carolina’s Sam Howell.

“I could see Howell rising through the process and it would not shock me at all if he bubbles up into the first round,” said a NFC director of player personnel. “His tape was a lot better than I expected. He has some natural passer and instincts to him.”

Howell went under the radar to a degree as his 2020 North Carolina supporting cast was lost to the NFL. Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and Liberty’s Malik Willis have had higher consensus projections. Some in the media had Nevada’s Carson Strong as a projected high first-rounder.

“Corral and is a rhythm and anticipation passer,” said the NFC director. “I question his arm strength and his deep accuracy is off. Willis doesn’t see the field well and his awareness is bad. I was disappointed in his tape. I was hoping to see Jalen Hurts. We don’t have a first-round grade on Strong. He has good arm strength and can throw it far, but he is a touch passer and not a ton of zip on his passes. He doesn’t drive balls into tight windows. He’s a marginal athlete with marginal mobility.” In speaking to an AFC director of college scouting, he had this to say about Corral, “As a passer, he’s comparable to Case Keenum or Taylor Heinicke. I know some graded him on day two, but Corral isn’t a starter fit for us.”

Throughout the lead up to the draft some of these players could easily rise and slide. Willis should impress in the workouts given his powerful arm, athleticism, and running ability. Corral also has the athleticism to impress at the combine and pro day. Howell could be a star in the interviews with enough of a skill set to look good in the workouts. While Pickett has established himself as the top consensus quarterback, there is a wide variety with teams about who comes next and some teams have Howell as their second rated quarterback still early in the 2022 draft process.