Commanders could look to Sam Howell as QB of the future


Thirstin' Howell.

Picture: Getty Pictures

Coming into his junior season at Chapel Hill, Sam Howell had NFL Draft experts salivating. He and Spencer Rattler had been considered the franchise-changing quarterbacks of the 2022 class. How rapidly they each fell out of favor. Rattler misplaced his beginning job at Oklahoma and transferred to South Carolina to re-establish his profession. Howell continued to be the starter at North Carolina and ended up a fifth-round choose of the Commanders, the sixth quarterback to come back off the board.

The Commanders’ quarterback scenario is much from strong. How can a group put its faith into Carson Wentz? The long-term potential isn’t there. He’s an improve from Ryan Fitzpatrick a 12 months in the past, however let’s overlook how the group is ready up for failure with a thin-ice quarterback. That slippery slope is because of his injury-prone previous and inconsistent play when wholesome. The cynicism surrounding Wentz as Washington’s starter started earlier than he’d even performed a sport for a franchise in search of its first long-term starter since Mark Rypien means again in 1989-93. Mark Brunell, Jason Campbell, Kirk Cousins, Gus Frerotte, and Robert Griffin III all lasted three seasons because the group’s foremost starter. Wentz isn’t the streak-breaker.

Wentz was dropped at the nation’s capital to stabilize the group beneath heart after the Commanders swung and whiffed on bringing Russell Wilson from Seattle. And it occurred after the Taylor Heinicke experiment failed. Due to this fact, there’s one quarterback on Washington’s roster with long-term potential: Howell. And he dazzled within the group’s preseason video games, solely including hope to a future with Howell on the helm.

Howell’s potential relies on a minuscule pattern measurement. He’s performed in 85 fewer NFL games than Carson Wentz. Wentz, former North Dakota State starter, has formally appeared for the Eagles and Colts 85 occasions. It’s frequent fanfare when fantasizing a couple of rookie quarterback; the hype for Cam Newton and Sam Darnold every began someplace. For Howell, it’s all about discovering the shape that made him an ACC darling again in 2019 and 2020.

The North Carolina nice made 37 begins in three seasons main the Tar Heels. He received a quarterback competitors as a real freshman in 2019 and set the college’s all-time single-season file for landing passes (38). Throughout his sophomore season, Howell was rather more environment friendly, elevating his completion proportion to 68.1 %, up from 61.4 %. By way of passing manufacturing, 2021 was a down 12 months for Howell however he didn’t utterly fall off with 35 mixed passing and speeding touchdowns.

In a terrible draft for quarterbacks, it’s hard to understand why Howell’s projection fell so sharply. A groupthink mentality tanking everyone’s grade lower only didn’t cascade to Kenny Pickett somehow, who isn’t even starting in Week 1 for Pittsburgh. That’s Mitch Trubisky, another former UNC QB. That move guarantees that no rookie quarterback will start the opening week of the NFL season for the first time since 2007. Such all-timers as E.J. Manuel and DeShone Kizer started in that stretch.

North Carolina QB Sam Howell 2020 Highlights.

If projections that started the 2021 college football season become true, and odds are someone from this draft class will become an elite quarterback, Howell has as much reason to be that guy as anyone else. Does anyone really believe Bailey Zappe will be Tom Brady 2.0 and recreate that magic in New England? What about Matt Corral, who looked like a prototypical NFL starter before getting injured in Ole Miss’ bowl game against Baylor last year?

The Commanders have an improving offense. Truth be told, there’s only one way to go from where they were in 2018. A decent offensive line with plenty of young, promising weapons on the outside and backfield would be at Howell’s disposal, headlined by Terry McLaurin. Then once more, a more-experienced Wentz additionally will throw to the Ohio State grad. I’m anticipating he’ll in some way blow it. He all the time does. And Washington head coach Ron Rivera could be dumb to present likelihood No. I’ve-lost-depend to Heinicke. It’ll be Howell time. The soon-to-be-22-year-old really has an opportunity to buck the Commanders’ QB pattern that’ll flip 30 subsequent season.

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