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    NFL Draft Projections: Sam Howell landing spots include Saints, Steelers, and Lions

    Sam Howell's 2022 NFL Draft projections have seen a downward turn in the past six months, but what are his potential landing spots now?

    It has been a rough year for Sam Howell’s NFL Draft projections, which has seen his potential landing spots change significantly. Once considered the potential first quarterback off the board, Howell entered the year with a chance to be the first selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. With that ship now having sailed, what are the potential landing spots for Howell?

    NFL Draft Projections: Sam Howell’s potential landing spots

    The situation with Howell entering the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft is summed up nicely by the PFN Consensus Top 300 Big Board. Ranked 53rd overall and the fourth QB prospect, his range of rankings by our four draft analysts is from 36th to 102nd.

    When you look at Howell’s scouting report, the reason for that variation is clear. As a prospect, he is dripping with potential, which he demonstrated at the Senior Bowl. However, there are also some major areas of concern that NFL teams will need to work on to improve his play.

    Those concerns are best summed up by Howell’s stats across his North Carolina career. His junior season in 2021 was his worst almost across the board as a passer, with his fewest touchdowns and most interceptions of his three years at Chapel Hill. Nevertheless, Howell has demonstrated his talent during those three years, while also possessing the potential to improve.

    Could Howell be the best of both worlds — pro-ready enough to help a team immediately, while also having a ceiling to develop into and improve? With that in mind, let’s examine Howell’s potential landing spots in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    Detroit Lions

    The Lions are almost certainly expected to be in the market for a quarterback this year. The question is really whether it will be with the second, 32nd, or 34th pick that we see them make the move. It’s unlikely they would take Howell second overall, but he could realistically be the option for them with pick 32 or 34 if they pass on the upside of Malik Willis or the seeming safety blanket offered by Kenny Pickett.

    Howell may very well present the perfect option for the Lions. He has the talent to come in and possibly start at some point in 2022, but he also has the potential to develop into a QB that could make the Lions a force in the NFC. The opportunity to get a QB that offers both those options at the back end of the first round or early in the second round could be tempting.

    Carolina Panthers

    The sixth overall pick may feel a little rich for the Panthers when it comes to selecting Howell. However, with no other selections in the first two days, the Panthers could find themselves in a bind. They could try to trade back and potentially get Howell later in Round 1. That option would potentially net them either some Day 2 picks in 2022 or a first-round selection in 2023. Yet, they run the risk of missing out on Howell if someone else is high on him.

    That is the dilemma for the Panthers with so few picks in the top three rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft. Nevertheless, if they believe Howell has the tools to be their QB of the future, they won’t risk moving back. Potential franchise QBs do not come around often, and while his star has waned, Howell was considered a potential franchise QB as recently as six months ago.

    Seattle Seahawks

    In a short space of time, the Seahawks have gone from having just one pick in the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL Draft to possessing three. Yes, they had to trade away Russell Wilson to get there, but suddenly they have the chance to rebuild a number of areas of their roster. That presents them with a few options when it comes to potentially drafting Howell this year.

    Sitting at ninth overall, there should be a few different QB options for the Seahawks. The dilemma is whether they take that option or use that pick to put a potential starter on their roster at another position. If the latter happens, the Seahawks can either wait on their options at the top of Round 2 or package those picks to trade up and draft the likes of Howell somewhere in the first round. If they do, Howell would possibly have the chance to start as early as Week 1 of the 2022 season.

    Washington Commanders

    The Commanders’ trade for Carson Wentz has put them in a strange position. Unless they view Wentz as the player who can lead them to a Super Bowl, they surely must remain in the QB conversation. However, if they use a first or second-round pick for a player like Howell, what does that say to Wentz about his future? To make the trade for Wentz, the Commanders really need to go and put the pieces around him to make this team a challenger this year.

    Equally though, the Commanders need to recognize that Wentz is far from their QB of the future. Therefore, they need to be keeping an eye out for a player who could be that QB of the future for them. Howell certainly has the potential to be just that. It will be intriguing to see whether the Commanders would consider Howell with the 11th pick, or whether they might look to trade up from their spot at pick 47 to go and get Howell.

    New Orleans Saints

    The Saints make sense for Howell. New Orleans has the roster to be a challenger in the NFC this year, but they need consistent QB play. New Orleans started 5-2 last season, including wins over the Buccaneers and Packers. Their troubles in the second half were very much due to a lack of reliable QB play after Jameis Winston got injured.

    Drafting Howell with one of their two first-round picks would give the Saints the opportunity to be competitive in 2022, even if things don’t pan out with Winston. Meanwhile, Howell also could develop into a long-term starter who can help the Saints transition out of the Drew Brees era and into the next stage for the franchise.

    Pittsburgh Steelers

    Another team looking to transition away from a veteran QB and into their future is the Steelers. With a talented roster, they made the playoffs last year and need to find the QB that can take this roster to the next level. Howell has the talent to be that type of QB, so he should be in consideration for the Steelers.

    The big question in Pittsburgh is whether this pick would potentially be better spent on a player to help either the offensive line or the secondary. Is Howell a big enough upgrade over the potential Mitch Trubisky offers for the Steelers to spend a first-round selection on him? If the answer is not a resounding yes, the Steelers might want to think twice about Howell at 20th overall.

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