2022 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Sam Howell

  • Sam Howell, 6-/218

  • Quarterback

  • North Carolina

  • Sam Howell Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Play-maker
  • Gunslinger attitude
  • Instincts
  • Accurate passer with good ball placement
  • Throws receivers open
  • Excellent touch passer
  • Throws a very catchable ball
  • Deep-ball accuracy
  • Natural feel as a passer
  • Superb ball placement to lead receivers for yards after the catch
  • Throws with good timing
  • Mobility
  • Escapability to extend plays
  • Difficult to sack
  • Good at throwing on the run
  • Can pick up yards on the ground
  • Enough arm to make all the throws in the NFL
  • Leadership potential
  • Intelligent

  • Weaknesses:
  • Undersized; shorter than ideal
  • Can press at times
  • Gets impatient on occasion
  • Quality arm, but not elite
  • Mobile, but not dynamic, runner

  • Summary: Over the past three seasons, Howell was one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the nation. As a freshman in 2019, Howell burst onto the scene, throwing 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions while completing 61 percent of his passes for 3,641 yards. In 2020, Howell took advantage of an excellent supporting cast and dominated the ACC. He completed 68 percent of his passes for 3,586 yards, 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He notched five rushing touchdowns as well.

    Howell did not play as well in 2021, but North Carolina had lost the likes of Javonte Williams, Dyami Brown and Michael Carter to the 2021 NFL Draft. Howell completed 63 percent of his passes in 2021 for 3,056 yards, 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The junior also ran for 11 touchdowns and 828 yards on the ground. Howell was decent, but unimpressive, at the Senior Bowl and then a solid combine performance.

    While Howell does not blow away evaluators from a size, athleticism, or arm-strength perspective, he is a natural football player with passing instincts and feel. Howell is a confident signal-caller who can pick apart defenses and is very efficient at spreading the ball to his playmakers.

    There is no doubt that Howell is an accurate passer. He places his ball well, putting it in position for his target to make catches while avoiding putting the pass in danger of being intercepted. Howell threw the ball on the money downfield over his three seasons and was accurate to all levels of the field. Howell’s accuracy is one of his best traits and provides some hope for him to become a starter as a pro.

    In the pocket, Howell shows the ability to work off his primary read and does not panic when his first read is covered. Howell’s timing, anticipation, accuracy, and field vision are on point to be an effective pocket passer. Speeding up his reading of defenses and working through his progressions faster would help him succeed in the NFL. For two out of his three seasons at North Carolina, Howell steadily made safe decisions, but his decision-making declined in 2021 after he lost a lot of talent around him to the 2021 NFL Draft. Howell made a few poor decision in 2021 out of pressing and trying to do too much.

    Howell does not have an elite cannon like Malik Willis, but Howell’s arm is plenty strong enough for the NFL; it will not be a problem for him. Howell can make all the throws and shows an excellent ability to locate his passes deep down the field. One could make the argument that Howell is the best deep-ball passer in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Howell is a good athlete with enough quickness to get yardage on the ground. With mobility and athleticism, Howell is able to buy time and escape sacks. He is a capable runner with the ability to dodge defenders, but he is more of a pocket quarterback who only runs when he has to. He is not an aggressive runner in the open field.

    Howell looks like a Day 2 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He could start out his career as a backup and potentially develop into being a starter.

    Player Comparison: Baker Mayfield. Some have compared Howell to Mayfield, which makes a lot of sense. Mayfield and Howell are nearly identical in size and play a gritty style of football while being natural, instinctive passers. Mayfield has been inconsistent in his pro career, and Howell demonstrated some inconsistency for North Carolina.


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