As they consider if, or maybe when, they’ll take a quarterback in this draft, the Detroit Lions are rumored to like Sam Howell.
The Detroit Lions need a long-term franchise quarterback, it’s just a matter of when they draft one. It might not even be in this year’s draft, but if they do it’ll be a question of when they pull that trigger and what it may take to get to an ideal pick.
On that front, as first indicated by Ryan Ermanni of Fox 2 and backed up by Kory Woods of Woodward Sports Network, the Lions like North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell.
Howell is in the late first-round or early second-round conversation for most analysts, and the Lions having two picks in that range (No. 32 and No. 34) makes it easy to match them with him.
If this draft were a year ago, Howell might be in the conversation to go No. 1 overall, and no less than top-five or top-10. Over his first two seasons as the Tar Heels’ signal caller, he had 68 touchdown passes and just 14 interceptions.
But North Carolina had an exodus of skill position talent in 2021 (Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dazz Newsome) and it showed for Howell last season. He started least season on a rough note against Virginia Tech (three interceptions), and never fully recovered his previous lofty draft stock.
Howell added an extra running element to his game last year, with 828 rushing yards and 11 scores on the ground. He had five rushing touchdowns in 2020, but the yardage spike was notable. And after that bad season opener, his touchdown-to-interception rate was 23-6 over the next 11 games.
The Lions got a close look at Howell at the Senior Bowl, as he was on the roster of the American team the coaching staff led. They apparently like what they see in him, the question now moves to if they’ll try to wait to No. 32 to get him or if they like him enough to attempt to trade up.