Lions 2022 NFL Draft: 5 prospects to watch on Saturday
Howell entered the season in the conversation to perhaps go first overall in the 2022 draft, but that went away with a three-interception outing in a season-opening loss to Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels have also failed to live up to preseason hype (4-4 this season).
On Saturday, Howell and the Tar Heels will welcome undefeated and top-10 ranked Wake Forest to Chapel Hill. The Demon Deacons are a middle tier defense overall, save for a bad run defense, and they are 57th against the pass (219.8 yards per game) with 24 sacks (tied for 14th-most in FBS).
To get Lions’ fans attention, or draw their ire, Howell drew a strained comparison to Matthew Stafford from Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports in a mock draft feature recently. That doesn’t mean he’s not worthy of their second first-round pick if he lasts to them there, the comparison was just a stretch. Despite the broader narrative with the Tar Heels having a disappointing season, and losing talent around him from last year to the NFL, Howell is having another very good season.
Per ESPN’s David Hale, Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson and Miami head coach Manny Diaz had high praise for Howell this week.
“I’m more impressed with him this year than last year,” Wake coach Dave Clawson said.
“He’s been outstanding,” Miami coach Manny Diaz said of Howell. “With the exodus of elite talent they had last year, he is leading them almost single-handed.”
How To Watch Howell On Saturday: vs. Wake Forest, 12 p.m. ET, TV: ABC