Let’s start with the obvious here. Washington’s Air Coryell offense thrives off of the vertical passing game, timing, and rhythm concepts in order for it to be fulfilled to its purpose. Unfortunately with subpar quarterback play over the last few seasons, Scott Turner‘s offense has been like an old school car with a shaky engine. Sure, sometimes it starts, but it takes a whole lot of prayers and sheer good luck in order to get any sort of consistency out of it.
With the addition of a guy like Sam Howell, pushing the ball down the field especially at an efficient level will no longer be an issue. Howell has been not only one of the better deep ball passers in terms of the numbers, but to the eye, he is very comfortable with the deep ball.
On throws of 20 or more yards over the last two seasons, Howell has thrown for 18 touchdowns to just six interceptions. During that same stretch, he’s had over 40 big-time throws, according to Pro Football Focus to only six turnover-worthy plays. In terms of efficiency, it doesn’t get much better than Sam Howell on throws of 20+ yards at the collegiate level.
Not only that, he’s shown a great deal of comfort especially in 2021 with anticipatory throws and throws that require touch at the second level of the passing game. He torched zone coverage last season, while I do not have the numbers in front of me, check out his game against Notre Dame in 2021 to get the full spectrum of his evolving throwing ability.
Why the Commanders should draft Sam Howell
He also played like a QB that has seen it all at the collegiate level, especially against the blitz. Howell was one of the better QB’s in the nation when blitzed, throwing for 12 touchdowns and just two interceptions when defenses sent the heat.
In addition, Howell not only beat the blitz and defenses in general with his arm but also, his legs. He might not time as a 4.5 athlete in the 40-yard dash, but he is a viable threat on the ground. This season, also in some reps during Senior Bowl week and even the actual game, Howell made things happen with his legs that we only saw flashes of in years past.
His overall evolution and comfort as a passer have been noticeable from year to year, what makes it even more impressive is the amount of talent that he lost in 2021. Without a plethora of offensive weapons around him, Howell put up yet another strong year of production, improvement, and consistency on tape that cannot go unnoticed.
Howell fits well in a Washington offense that needs a versatile QB that can make something happen at the second and third levels of the passing game, while also being an adequate option on the ground. Howell has familiarity and comfort within some of the concepts that Scott Turner likes to run, while also having enough upside to draft him in the second round.
He may not be an immediate starter, likely somebody that needs to sit for a season, but his fit in Washington definitely works. He’s been somebody that has consistently improved from year to year, especially in some tough areas that give NFL QB’s some trouble. His ability to read the entire field improved dramatically from 2020 to 2021, and overall he’s been the type of player that hasn’t slowed down much even when NFL talent leaves his side.
Washington should draft Howell if they’re looking for a developmental QB that has plenty of arm talent and athletic ability to fit well within their scheme. He may not be the transcendent, elevating talent that very few QB’s have, but if you trust your scheme and add pieces that work well within that structure, a guy like Howell can provide a high floor for not only your offense, but for your team.