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2022 NFL Draft

Senior Bowl: UNC QB Sam Howell Believes He’s a Year-One Starter



Sam Howell

MOBILE, Ala. — North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell needed to be the guy for North Carolina in a year where they seemingly lost all the weapons around him. While the Tar Heels did not live up to expectations, Howell showed different parts of his game. Due to a porous offensive line and a lack of weapons, Howell elevated those around him. In that elevation, it included him rushing for almost 1,000 yards.

Still, there was a leadership void that was left behind as a result. If anything that was shown on the field is true proof of what teams are looking for in Howell, his leadership off the field may be his biggest area of growth around his entire game. In the pre-draft interviews at the Senior Bowl, leadership is something Howell hopes shows through.

“My leadership was the biggest improvement,” Howell said at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday. “I was challenged more with the guys we lost last year. I think I gained a lot of experience this year stepping up into their shoes.”

The most common comparison for Howell at this point is Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. While that comparison can be used glowingly or endearingly in the eyes of the beholder, Howell takes it in stride. While he will not get caught up in those comparisons, he respects them as well.

“Yeah, Baker is a great player,” Howell said, “He makes plays on the run, make throws. I try not to get caught up in that, but I see that as a compliment.”

While he is still improving and growing as a player, Howell sees himself as a ready-made player to come in day one. Should the opportunity come knocking at his door, Howell will gladly be the one to swing the door wide open and answer the call.

“Yeah, I think I’m ready for it,” Howell said. “I’m just taking the process in stride. If they call on me to start, I’ll be the best quarterback I can be.”

The Steelers have shown interest in Howell in the past. Whether that can get him in a starting role if they take him is another question. However, Howell started off day one of Senior Bowl practice with a good start. If he keeps it up, his stock should rise with time.

Senior Bowl

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