Why Sam Howell should be on the Denver Broncos draft board
The season might’ve ended cold, but things are heating up Mile High as the Denver Broncos have a very important decision coming up this offseason.
Yes, a head coach is on the to-do list, but not the most important priority. Along with lacking any true guidance on the sidelines, there hasn’t been a consistent leader in the huddle. The Denver Broncos have struck out on quarterbacks with 11 different starting quarterbacks since Peyton Manning’s last “Omaha” in 2015.
So how do the Denver Broncos finally get their franchise QB?
As amazing as it would be to have Aaron Rodgers in blue and orange, that would only set the Broncos to win for 1-4 years. So, even if the Broncos can trade for Rodgers they will need someone who he can pass the torch to…which leads us to North Carolina’s Sam Howell.
Howell could be the perfect fit for the Denver Broncos offensive dreams. Whether you win the Rodgers sweepstakes or not, drafting Howell makes perfect sense.
Before this past college football season, Howell was arguably QB1 and favored to be in the Heisman running. Due to UNC struggles this season, Howell’s draft grade dropped tremendously and Howell was nowhere to be found for a Heisman speech.
Many pinpointed the losing season to UNC losing four impactful offensive players to the NFL Draft, but Howell’s numbers say he actually got better this season.
Howell, this season had 3056 passing yards at 5th best in the Atlantic Coastal Conference, which was only a 500-yard dip from the season prior. His major improvements came within the rushing attack. As a quarterback, Howell finished 5th in rushing touchdowns (11) and 7th in rushing yards(828) in the ACC. To put things in perspective, Howell only had 146 rushing yards the year prior.
The biggest weakness in Howell’s game is the problem most college quarterbacks have entering the NFL Draft.
Howell doesn’t throw many interceptions. He has 92 passing touchdowns in his collegiate career compared to just 23 interceptions. Those 92 touchdowns rank 3rd most all-time in ACC history and his career 164.2 QBR is 24th best in NCAA history.
The problem comes when the check-down is covered and his first read is gone. Once that happens, Howell can throw it up for grabs or hold on to the ball way too long receiving a sack in the process.
A year behind Rodgers or whoever the Broncos decide to commend the huddle could be beneficial in Howell’s progress in decision making.
He can throw.
Howell not only has accuracy, but he also has a cannon of an arm. Many of his spectacular plays came from Howell leading the wide receiver with an accurate ball often resulting in a touchdown. Another strength of his?
The quarterback with a quiet demeanor has often owned up to the team failures without pointing blame despite lackluster defense and play-calling all season. He, unlike many, participated in his teams’ bowl game, leaving it all on the line.
Ironically enough Howell is the combination of two quarterbacks many feel should already be in Denver.
Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen.
Howell possesses the arm strength to throw the ball deep like Mayfield and Allen, yet struggles with finding the right read. He also can use his legs for the first down if needed and can power his way into the end zone like Allen.
When should the Denver Broncos draft Howell?
Now with an early second-round mock on Howell, the Broncos could draft an offensive lineman or a linebacker with the 9th overall pick. This is the perfect scenario for Denver to trade back into the first to steal Howell late in the first or keep their fingers crossed to get him early in the second.
Howell could be the answer to the six-year question on who is next. Who knows…He could be the next John Elway.