Sam Howell NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Washington Commanders' QB

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IApril 30, 2022

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 30: Sam Howell #7 of the North Carolina Tar Heels looks to pass during the first half of the Duke's Mayo Bowl against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Bank of America Stadium on December 30, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

HEIGHT: 6'0 5/8"


HAND: 9 1/8"

ARM: 30 3/4"

WINGSPAN: 6'3 1/2"







— Good build. Able to withstand repeated shots throughout the game and keep playing.

— Can run in between the tackles and is a tough runner overall, with enough athleticism and burst to handle designed runs. Has the play strength to bounce off tackles.

— Good arm strength, with the ability to drive intermediate throws.

— Throws a very catchable deep ball. Can consistently get distance and put touch on Go balls.

— Above-average accuracy at all three levels when in rhythm. Can help create yards after the catch with his ball placement.


— Below-average height for the position.

— Has a long, over-the-top throwing motion that defenders can punish if he's late on a throw.

— Plays in an RPO-heavy system. Has a ways to go in terms of progressing and reading over the middle of the field. Lacks consistent anticipation and will wait for receivers to flash open before pulling the trigger.

— Will look to tuck the ball and run too early.


12 G, 217-347 (62.5%), 3,056 YDS (8.8 Y/A), 24 TD, 9 INT, 154.2 RAT, 183 ATT, 828 YDS (4.5 AVG), 11 TD


— 2020 second-team All-ACC.

— 2019 ACC Rookie of the Year.


Sam Howell is a tough quarterback with a good, strong build but below-average height for the position. He throws a very catchable deep ball and is able to get distance while also consistently getting a high arc on deep throws. Howell has good overall arm strength and flashes the ability to drive the ball when in rhythm on shorter and intermediate throws.

Being in rhythm is important for Howell. His footwork is inconsistent, which causes balls to spray, or he will take an extra bounce at the end of his dropback that makes him late on more timing-based throws. Howell will also attempt to work deep in his dropbacks to give himself more room to see his routes develop, attempting to compensate for his height. And while he has enough arm strength to make the throws, he has a longer, over-the-top throwing motion that will give him even less room for error in the NFL against better and faster defenders.

Howell is a tough runner and can make plays happen with his legs. He is willing to take a shot, and he can fire up the rest of his team when he picks up a nice gain. He can handle designed QB runs in between the tackles because of his play strength, adequate athleticism and burst.

Howell played in an RPO-heavy offense with designed quarterback runs that he was effective on, but the offense has limited his exposure to more progression-based concepts. He would look to tuck and run far too often instead of attempting to read a play out and do damage from the pocket.

Overall, Howell has the arm strength, athleticism and enough accuracy to make it in the NFL. But he will need a good deal of development and polish on his footwork, pocket awareness and movement, understanding of dropback concepts, and overall mechanics to become a viable NFL starting quarterback.

For any team that has the patience for a project, Howell has tools to work with, and his ability to create plays with his legs will help raise his bar as a player. But he'll need to become a more consistent player operating from the pocket to be anything more than a high-end backup or a spot starter.

GRADE: 7.2 (High-Level Backup/Potential Starter - 3rd Round)




Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice