Sam Howell (North Carolina)
North Carolina’s Sam Howell entered the season as my top-ranked quarterback but a slow start slid him down just a tad. He is not the most remarkable athlete in the world, nor does he have an elite arm that will put him over the top. Still, Howell is a capable signal-caller with a ton of upside as an NFL quarterback.
Howell does a good job with putting the ball where it needs to be. He can hit his targets at all levels of the field but is not going to blow anyone away with his zip. He can attack down the field when chances come but those shots have been very favorable in his college offense.
The UNC offense is not going to carry over into the NFL so there is likely going to be a learning curve from Howell. The Tar Heels operate with a lot of RPOs and motion, making life a lot easier on the quarterback and more complicated for opposing defenses. For Howell, he needs to show that he can operate more of an NFL offense.
Howell also needs to clean up his footwork and pocket awareness when he makes the leap to the NFL. I think Howell is going to be a solid NFL quarterback and the Vikings would be smart to take him if he slides a bit in the spring.
However, I do not think he would be worth the top-15 pick from a team like Minnesota that has a lot of question marks elsewhere. His draft process will be very interesting.