The NOLA Saints made a bold trade with the Eagles, acquiring a second first-round selection, and in doing so, parted ways with their 2023 first-round pick. This might mean that the Saints are looking to add a quarterback in this year’s draft and if they do, Sam Howell out of North Carolina might be a good fit for them.
Howell spent his college career at North Carolina where he finished with 10,283 passing yards, 92 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions during his three-year career. He made a massive dent as a runner too, tallying 1,009 yards and 17 yards on the ground with 828 of those yards and 11 of those touchdowns coming during the 2021 season.
It’s his running ability that makes Howell an intriguing option for the Saints.
As we all know, this is a run-first offense, especially in recent years. That’s to be expected with Alvin Kamara in the backfield but this team was at its best when the run game was clicking and Howell could contribute to that and make them an even more dangerous running team.
NOLA Saints’ best option at QB might be Sam Howell
Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports wrote an article about why he believes that Howell is going to be the first signal-caller off the board in this year’s draft.
"And if Howell does have quality receivers and backs around him, we’ve seen what he can do, and it’s borderline special. Not to elementary-stat drop here, but 68 touchdowns and 14 interceptions at over 9 yards per attempt as a freshman and sophomore is what elevated his stock to top-of-the-draft heights before his junior campaign."
Howell’s junior year was down from his previous two seasons as the Tar Heel’s starter but he made up for it with what he could do when taking off with the football. As a freshman in 2019, Howell tossed for 3,641 yards and 38 touchdowns and as a sophomore in 2020, he threw for 3,586 yards and 30 touchdowns.
"And Howell’s upside is apparent from a traits angle, too. He has the the second-strongest arm in the class behind Willis, and it’s not really close. He’s not a phenomenal athlete for the position by today’s recently elevated standards. But improvisation was his forced forte in 2021 given the offensive environment in which he found himself. The off-structure capabilities are there."
I highly suggest reading Trapasso’s write-up because it sold me on Howell and I was already a fan of the guy. My hope is that he falls to the second round and New Orleans spends their second-rounder on him but if they feel he’s worthy of a first-round pick, then so be it.
Howell wouldn’t be put into a situation where he’d have to start immediately, as Jameis Winston will be the starting quarterback in New Orleans for at least the next year. In 2023, however, we could start discussing if the North Carolina product is ready to takeover as the starting signal caller.
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