The 2022 NFL Draft quarterback class was an interesting one that saw signal-callers come off the board in an order that hardly anyone predicted. Among those to fall later than expected was North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell.

Howell was largely projected to be taken absolutely no later than the fourth round with some analysts putting him in the second round or even the late first-round ahead of the event. Instead, he was selected at pick No. 144 overall by the Washington Commanders to kick off the fifth round of action.

This could ultimately end up being a high-value, no-risk pick for the Commanders looking back on this down the line.

Sam Howell’s college career and the narrative surrounding it

Two completely different narratives surrounded Sam Howell between the 2020 season and the 2021 campaign. In the former, the one that preceded Howell being named an early QB1 or QB2 in the draft class, there were questions as to whether his success was a product of his own doing or if he was simply reaping the benefits of those around him.

Howell completed 68.1% of his passes for 3,586 yards (an impressive average of 10.3 yards per attempt) with 30 touchdowns and seven interceptions. In 2021, he took a moderate step back on the stat sheet, completing 62.5% of his pass attempts for 3,056 yards with 24 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

  • 64% completion, 10,283 passing yards, 1,009 rushing yards, 109 total TD, 23 INT

At times, there were some decision-making and consistency issues on Howell’s end. But much of the overall problem within a team that only won seven games seemed to stem from incompetent offensive line play and a subpar supporting cast.

In his own right, Howell came in clutch for the team on several plays and wasn’t afraid to use his mobility to move the chains for the team, either. He also held the second-lowest turnover-worthy play rate at 2.2% in 2021 according to Pro Football Focus, behind only North Carolina State quarterback Devin Leary.