Commanders

Commanders add to QB room with North Carolina's Sam Howell

Commanders
Sam Howell

Well, things just got interesting.

The Commanders have added to their quarterback room, selecting North Carolina's Sam Howell with the 144th overall pick -- the first choice of the fifth round.

A three-year starter for the Tar Heels, Howell was once considered a top quarterback prospect a couple of seasons ago. However, UNC lost a bunch of its top playmakers prior to last season, which Howell followed up with a disappointing 2021 campaign. Couple that with concerns about his mechanics and touch led Howell to slide into the fifth round.

Production at the college level was not a concern for Howell. The now 21-year-old earned the Tar Heels starting job as a true freshman in 2019 and instantly made an impact. Over his three-year career, Howell threw for over 10,000 yards with 92 touchdown passes and just 23 interceptions.

"Sam Howell to me, if you look at what he did in college, so productive," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said. "I think he throws the best deep ball of any quarterback in this class. The touch, the teardrop that he’s able to drop in between defenders and hit his wide receivers in stride."

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Howell won't compete for Washington's starting job, as Ron Rivera has made it clear that belongs to Carson Wentz. But the North Carolina product could initially compete with Taylor Heinicke for the team's backup job, too.

It's also worth noting that Howell will reunite with wide receiver Dyami Brown, the Commanders third-round selection in 2021. Howell and Brown played together for two seasons in Chapel Hill and Brown topped the 1,000-yard mark in both of those years.