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QB Sam Howell, SEA (1 Viewer)

Pro Football Focus rates North Carolina sophomore QB Sam Howell as the most valuable returning player in college football.

The UNC gunslinger was surgical in his precision last year, averaging 10 yards per attempt and a sterling 77 percent completion rate. After a good freshman campaign in 2019, Howell (6'1/225) turned it up a notch in 2020, posting a 121.9 passer rating with the help of stud skill players such as Michael Carter, Javonte Williams, and Dyami Brown. How Howell adjusts to having so many of his top skill players leave school will be important to keep an eye on as Howell gets put under the NFL Draft microscope in 2021. 

SOURCE: Pro Football Focus

Jun 21, 2021, 12:54 PM ET


Definitely on my radar.  He's not as mobile as some, but he can absolutely be a franchise QB (obviously needs further development). 

He'll actually play against some decent opponents and could lead UNC to the BCS (seems unlikely but within reason), or more likely, a top bowl game.  :stalker:

Holds the ball way too long, happy feet in the pocket, locks onto his main wr

Has nice mobility, great deep ball touch

He has a long way to go before he is a top 5 pick IMO

UNC junior QB Sam Howell completed 21-of-29 passes for 352 yards and three scores while rushing for 104 yards and two touchdowns in a 59-17 blowout of Georgia State. 

Well, that was better. Howell (6'1/225) was facing a much worse defense, of course, than the one he saw in the opener against Virginia Tech, but it's also more than fair to say he played better. He found three difference receivers for touchdowns, and he also showed off his wheels on touchdown runs of 22 and 62-yards, respectively. This is what a player of Howell's talent should do against a team of Georgia State's talents, but it's nice to see given his struggles against the Hokies next week. He'll look to back this up next week against Virginia. 

Sep 11, 2021, 11:15 PM ET

UNC junior QB Sam Howell completed 25-of-39 passes for 306 yards with a pair of scores on Saturday in a 45-22 loss to Georgia Tech. 

It wasn't Howell's fault that UNC couldn't stop Jeff Sims and the Georgia Tech offense, but it was far from a perfect day for the signal-caller. He just missed on a couple of throws, and some promising drives came to an end too soon. He was able to add the three touchdowns a week after he excelled with five passing scores and 112 yards on the ground against Virginia. Howell (6'4/225) certainly has talent, but that talent can frustrate just as often as it impresses. He gets a chance to rebound against Duke next Saturday. 

Sep 25, 2021, 11:14 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell completed 18-of-32 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-7 annihilation of Duke on Saturday.

Howell (6'4"/225) bounced back from his lackluster showing against Georgia Tech to put an absolute beating on their cross-state rival. While he could have been more accurate in spots, the Tarheels' signal caller converted nine-of-seventeen third down opportunities and averaged 10.0 yards per attempt in the lopsided affair. His longest completion came on a well-timed wheel route to running back Ty Chandler for a 75-yard touchdown to open the scoring parade. NC continues their ACC schedule next Saturday at home against a reeling Florida State team.

Oct 2, 2021, 11:49 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell completed 17-of-32 passes for 203 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a 35-25 loss to Florida State on Saturday.

Howell (6'4/225) had his moments in the contest, staking UNC to a 10-0 lead thanks to a well thrown 33-yard touchdown strike to all-world wideout, Josh Downs. Unfortunately the Tarheels would score only twice more for the remainder of the game, which put them in a hole they were unable to crawl out of. Howell seemed to be pressured on the majority of his dropbacks, which explains why he ran 11 times for 108 yards on the ground, preferring to scramble and tuck the ball under his arm rather than set his sights on the downfield passing game. It's a tough loss for 3-3 UNC, as the Tarheels have another difficult matchup against Miami this Saturday. 

Oct 10, 2021, 2:41 AM ET

smallish, has happy feet, locks onto one wr, 

Not seeing the hype around this kid, probably should stay at this rate
Looks like he may be a late bloomer. Looking at Fausts posts it seems he grew 3 inches in just a couple weeks. By the time the draft rolls around he'll be 7'6".

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell completed 17-of-26 passes for 154 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and 98 rushing yards with two touchdowns in Saturday's 45-42 win over Miami.

Howell (6'4"/225) allowed Miami to whip out the turnover chain early. He tried to throw it out in the flat to Ty Chandler. DL Jahfari Harvey was in the crosshairs, caught the pass and it took it to the house for a pick-six. That was his only hiccup of the day. He had two passing touchdowns in the first half. He hit Josh Downs on a slant up the middle and ran it for 45 yards to give North Carolina a 14-10 lead. Then later connected with John Copenhaver for two yards. Howell decided it was time to show off his legs in the second half. In the third quarter with Miami creeping back in, Howell ran it as the pocket collapsed, truck sticked a Miami defender and went 30 yards to go up 38-24. The run was so nice he had to do it twice. He would have an 11-yard rushing touchdown that NC would need for the 45-42 win. This victory gets them to .500 in conference play. North Carolina gets two weeks to prepare for their biggest test this season as they go on the road to face Notre Dame.

Oct 16, 2021, 7:28 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell completed 23-of-30 passes for 323 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing for 91 yards with a score in a 44-34 loss to Notre Dame on Saturday. 

Howell (6'4/225) had one of his better games on Saturday, but the UNC defense wasn't nearly good enough for it to matter. He brought the Tar Heels to within four in the third with a 33-yard touchdown pass, while his rushing score was a 31-yard scramble to get North Carolina within a score at 41-34 in the middle of the fourth quarter. The interception was also costly, as it came late in the contest and ended another scoring opportunity. All interceptions do, of course. Howell and North Carolina fall to 4-4, and they have a tricky one coming up next week against undefeated Wake Forest. 

Oct 30, 2021, 11:05 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell completed 16-of-26 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown and ran for 104 yards and two more scores on 21 carries in Saturday’s 58-55 win over Wake Forest.

Surprisingly pedestrian through the air against a poor Wake Forest passing defense that was depleted besides, Howell did what most good pitchers do when they show up to the ballpark without their fastball. He threw junk best he could and avoided grooving a ball. Howell (6'1/220) didn’t throw an interception, and he ended up grinding out over 100 ground yards as Wake’s defense was repeatedly gouged. This was Howell’s fourth 100-yard rushing output of the season -- and he ran for 90 or more in two others! After never rushing for more than 146 yards in a single season, he's up to 691 in 2021. This much-needed win improves UNC to 5-4. The Tar Heels have a chance to punch a bowl ticket next Saturday but have a tough test at Pitt.

Nov 6, 2021, 4:39 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell has been a force both in the air and on the ground for the Tar Heels this season.

Howell (6'1/220) has had his fair share of ups and downs this season, and some of the low points can be attributed to those within his supporting cast not always doing their job. He's been a consistent part of both the passing game and the ground game in recent history, most recently carrying the ball 21 times for 104 yards with two touchdowns. He's also made defenders miss, forcing 52 missed tackles this season according to Pro Football Focus. That means he's about to breaks the records of Lamar Jackson (53 in 2016) and Lynn Bowden Jr. (55 in 2019)

SOURCE: PFF College on Twitter

Nov 8, 2021, 2:13 PM ET

I think when all is said and done, Howell will be qb number 1 in this draft class.
Average size, average arm, average athleticism.   He has a lot to overcome to be the qb 1 here.  Some analysts are also saying the system he comes from is wonky and basically one read.

I don’t think Brees is a good comparison - I think if I were to compare Howells upside to someone it would be Russell Wilson.

I've watched Howell, Ole Miss' Corral and Pitt's Pickett all play this season and Howell - while not bad - is the worst of this bunch, and he may have the best WRs of all three. 

He seems to be a solid comparison to another former UNC QB who was overrated and overdrafted - Mitch Trubisky.

Trubisky as a junior in 2016 (13 games):

  • 304/447 (68.0%), 3748 passing yards (8.4 YPA, 9.1 AY/A), 30 TDs (6.7%), 6 interceptions (1.3%), 157.9 rating
  • 93/308/5 rushing (3.3 ypc)
  • 1/8/0 receiving
Howell as a junior this season (9 games):

  • 169/268 (63.1%), 2408 passing yards (9.0 YPA, 9.3 AY/A), 20 TDs (7.5%), 7 interceptions (2.6%), 157.9 rating
  • 135/699/8 rushing (5.2 ypc)
  • 0/0/0 receiving
Howell looks a bit more athletic and capable in the running game, though that was also thought to be a strength for Trubisky in his draft profile. But Howell doesn't look like quite as good a passer, with lower completion percentage and higher interception percentage. Hard for me to believe that his running will translate well to the NFL level. IMO he will be a bust if drafted high.

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell completed 22-of-32 passes for 296 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception in a 30-23 loss to Pitt on Thursday night.

The loss on Thursday night was not on Howell (6'1"/220) who was the only steady hand for the Tar Heels all night. Early on, Howell was unable to do anything, as his offensive line was allowing pressure on seemingly every snap and allowed four sacks in the first sixteen minutes. As with most games this year, Howell led the Tar Heels back and kept them in the game. The one thing that will haunt the Tar Heels on the flight back to Chapel Hill is the missed opportunities. They turned it over twice on fourth down misses, one a Howell run and the other a nine route that Howell overthrew. Right before overtime, the Tar Heels had a chance to score the go-ahead touchdown and they made mistakes inside the ten that eventually led to a field goal. Once overtime hit, the torrential downpour ended up stalling the offense, as they failed one more time on fourth down. As much as Howell had opportunities to win the game for the Tar Heels, he was let down time and time again. They look to become bowl eligible next week as they take on Wofford next Saturday.

Nov 11, 2021, 11:35 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell will walk on senior day according to Mack Brown, which all but confirms Howell will be leaving this year. 

It's not surprising in the least, as Howell is one of the top QB prospects in the nation, and is arguably number one. Coach Mack Brown has said they've always been assuming this would be the junior's last season. There are times when top prospects return for another year for unfinished business, but it's rare and it usually doesn't work out. With the confirmation that Howell will be participating in the senior sendoff, any lingering doubts should be put to rest barring some sort of crazy spur-of-the-moment after season decision. With UNC 5-5 and not likely to qualify for any major Bowls, it also wouldn't be surprising to see Howell sit the rest of the year considering he is also dealing with an upper body injury of some sort.

SOURCE: Tar Heel Illustrated on Twitter

Nov 15, 2021, 6:16 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell (upper body) may miss his last home game against Wofford with an injury.

Howell (6'1"/220), projected as one of the top QBs in the upcoming draft, if not THE top QB, is day-to-day with an upper body injury. The injury is on his non-throwing side, and was suffered in last weeks game against Pittsburgh. Howell will be a game-time decision but wants to play, but the decision will be up to team doctors, regardless of Howell's practice participation throughout the week. The injury doesn't appear to be that serious, as coach Mack Brown says Howell is expected to play in the regular season finale against N.C. State the following week. Howell has been beat up behind a struggling offensive line this year. If he can't go, sophomore Jacoby Criswell or freshman Drake Maye will get the start.

SOURCE: Associated Press on ESPN

Nov 15, 2021, 5:18 PM ET

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North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell completed 14-of-26 passes for 147 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, along with 18 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-30 loss to NC State on Friday night.

Howell (6'1/225) and the Tar Heels didn't have a lot working for them through the air. From dropped passes to a good pass rush, there were issues throughout the game. Howell took the game into his own hands, running the ball like a madman and bouncing off tacklers like a pinball. Howell was putting his body in harm's way to get the extra yard. Unfortunately, their inability to get the ball into the endzone late with two field goals in the final eight minutes cost the Tar Heels the victory. With a 6-6 record, this could have been the final game for Howell, but there is a chance he could play in a bowl game.

Nov 26, 2021, 10:49 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell and the Tar Heels couldn't stage enough of a comeback effort to stave off the South Carolina Gamecocks in a game they were favored to win.

Howell (6'1/225) has likely played his last game in the blue and white and he didn't exactly go out the way he had hoped to. Howell struggled in multiple aspects in the first half of the 38-21 loss before pulling it together some in the second half with some nice passes. But the Tar Heels couldn't do enough to get a win and surprisingly fell by a somewhat large margin. Howell completed 12-of-20 passes for 205 yards with one touchdown and zero interceptions, also carrying the ball 13 times for just three yards as the Gamecocks kept his mobility at bay.

Dec 30, 2021, 3:58 PM ET

North Carolina junior QB Sam Howell has declared for the 2022 NFL Draft.

Heading into 2021, Howell (6'1/225) was viewed as one of if not the top quarterback prospect of the 2022 NFL Draft class. While some may still hold that opinion, Howell will need to do some convincing of others after his 2021 season ended with 554 fewer passing yards than he had in 2020, and six fewer passing touchdowns. Howell also threw a career-high nine interceptions this season, while completing 61.5% of his passes, a steep drop off from his 68% completion percentage from 2020. Howell also brings a strong rushing game to the table, having rushed for 1,098 yards and 11 touchdowns this season after rushing for just 690 yards and six touchdowns through his first two seasons combined. In a draft class that already isn't viewed as being particularly strong, Howell may have some work to do through the pre-draft process to re-gain status as a projected first rounder.

SOURCE: Pete Thamel on Twitter

Jan 2, 2022, 12:56 PM ET

Former North Carolina QB Sam Howell completed 6-of-9 passes for 67 yards and also rushed five times for 29 yards and a touchdown in American's 20-10 loss to National. 

Howell's (6'1'/225) Senior Bowl performance was pretty much an encapsulation of his college career. Some really nice highs that show off his dual-threat ability and his sheer aptitude at putting points up on the board, but also the numerous negative plays that also can consign his team to a loss if they get out of hand. He led the American team to its only touchdown with a mix of rushing and passing which he often did in his junior year, and he capped it off with the read-option keep to the left, taking advantage of good blocking and outracing the defenders to the pylon. Howell was also sacked twice, a problem he had all season (North Carolina gave up 49 sacks, third worst in the FBS) and fumbled it both times, although luckily teammates fell on both spills. The potential is there with Howell but there are clear negatives that he didn't manage to put to bed in this performance. 

Feb 5, 2022, 6:38 PM ET

Pro Football Focus ranks North Carolina QB Sam Howell as the best quarterback available in the draft.

The lack of consistency through this predraft process is what makes it interesting, especially with everyone's assessment at the most important position. Many writers have different opinions about some of the top quarterbacks in the draft, but many were impressed by Liberty's Malik Willis at the Senior Bowl, enough to have him going as high as No. 6. In his latest rankings, PFF's Michael Renner has a different opinion as he has North Carolina's Sam Howell as the best available quarterback. Renner explains the reason he has Howell as the QB1 because of his success at the youngest age, along with his ability to make big throws. Howell didn't have a terrible season by some standards, but it was not up to his. He finished with a career-low in passing yards (3,056), passing touchdowns (24), passer rating (154.2), and a career-high nine interceptions. It doesn't seem likely that Howell will be taken over Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral, or possible Desmond Ridder, and many believe he's at best going late in the first round.


Feb 20, 2022, 6:23 PM ET


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