It took Sam Howell what probably felt like years to be drafted — Washington scooped him in the fifth round on Saturday when most expected him to be a Friday pick and, at one point, envisioned him as a potential No. 1 choice — but it took all of about five minutes for him to be inserted in a quarterback controversy in the NFL.
OK, not really. But sorta. Maybe sorta-ish? Some people are freaking out, that's for sure.
And when noted analysts like NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah say things like this, it's only going to contribute to the Howell Hysteria:
"If you look at what he did in college, so productive," ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay explained during their coverage of the event. "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."
Now, let's reset for a moment. Perhaps pour a stiff glass of water and briefly step outside for a little bit of fresh air. Breathe in. Breathe out.
If the Commanders made the move for Howell at, say, 47th overall, then sure, that could be interpreted as an indictment on Carson Wentz's standing as starter.
At No. 144, however, which is the territory of developmental prospects (especially at signal-caller), the franchise can bring Howell along slowly and without much pressure to get it right away. After all, he was the sixth player at the position to go.
In Howell's introduction to the local media, in fact, he mentioned how he has "so much respect" for Wentz and is "so excited" to learn behind the veteran. In no way did he imply that he's gunning for the top job (even though he probably is internally).
But having said all of that, there will inevitably be a chunk of fans who attach themselves to the new rookie and begin trumpeting him as the rightful heir to the QB throne on the first Sunday that Wentz struggles or throws a costly interception late. Wentz's contract can be tossed in the garbage after 2021 and Howell does possess a handful of intriguing traits.
The best-case scenario for the Commanders, in all likelihood, is for Wentz to re-prove himself with Ron Rivera's squad this season, for Taylor Heinicke to be there for insurance and for Howell to get acquainted with the pro game on the practice field.
Should the first leg of that scenario fail to come through, though, the Howell chatter that's (predictably and amazingly) already begun will grow and grow and grow. Then it'll continue to grow. While Rivera has clearly been supportive of Wentz ever since he acquired the ex-Colt, and this Howell addition shouldn't undermine that in theory, it might just happen regardless.