4 Commanders players who are already turning heads at 2023 OTAs

Emmanuel Forbes
Emmanuel Forbes / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 4

Sam Howell - Commanders QB

After the Washington Commanders avoided the temptation of bringing in a young quarterback this offseason, this could be Sam Howell's team until further notice. While head coach Ron Rivera hedged his bets with Jacoby Brissett in free agency, the former fifth-round select generated the majority of first-team reps throughout OTAs and did nothing to suggest he won't be under center in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Howell displayed outstanding velocity on his throws, had command of the huddle, and hit the soft spots without ever forcing the issue. It's worth noting that OTAs represent an environment that benefits the offense, but the North Carolina product's performance levels were encouraging nonetheless.

There are some slight timing issues that need refinement this summer, which should resolve themselves with additional reps. Howell must also work on adding a little extra touch to his throws - especially over short-to-intermediate routes.

Still, it's a positive start. Eric Bieniemy was barking at Howell at every turn to keep him on the right track, which is only going to help considering how influential the offensive coordinator was to Patrick Mahomes' early career development.

For all the positive moves made across the Commanders in recent months, it will count for nothing if Howell cannot produce the goods. But for now, optimism remains this could provide the spark desperately needed under center.