Sam Howell compared to Mayfield and Manziel?

One former NFL QB compares Sam Howell to Baker Mayfield and……Johnny Manziel.

A quarterback being compared to Baker Mayfield and Johnny Manziel is certainly not flattering.

That is what new Washington quarterback Sam Howell encountered on Monday’s edition of Pro Football Talk hosted by Mike Florio and Chris Simms.

Florio opened pointing out that prior to the 2021 season beginning, Howell was being touted as the first quarterback to be drafted in 2022, but Howell was the sixth taken and not until the 5th round. Yet he understood Howell could possibly be developed as a possible successor to Carson Wentz.

Simms declared Howell was smart, having the highest Wonderlic test score amongst quarterbacks at this year’s NFL combine. He also praised Howell as not being raw like Malik Willis but clearly going through his reading progressions in the pocket during passing plays.

“But the throwing has issues,” expressed Simms. “Listen, I will go to the NFL combine. He threw two out routes and bounced them there. I’ve never really seen a really good quarterback bounce out routes when there was nobody playing defense. There is some issue there with his mechanics.”

“He is Baker Mayfield-like. He scrambles, he is tough, he has some moxie and all that. But I don’t know if his game translates to the NFL. He has some refining to do. But, I think it is a good pick in the fifth round by Washington. He is one of those guys who does have some potential and maybe they do have something to work with here.”

“He has a thick build to him, a thick lower half that allows him to break tackles. But at the same time, he scrambles and takes too many sacks, and I don’t know if that scrambling he got away with in college like Johnny Manziel, it’s not going to translate into the NFL. And that is why he was probably still on the board at the 5th round.”

Well, Sam Howell, will have plenty of time to prove he is not the immature, overrated players Manziel and thus far Mayfield have been.


Commanders to sign veteran guard Trai Turner

Washington Commanders signed veteran guard Trai Turner Monday.

Washington has made it known it is going to sign its first post-draft NFL free agent, guard Trai Turner.

Turner played for …. well of course, the Carolina Panthers and turns age 29 in June. The former third-round pick of the Panthers in the 2014 NFL draft (92 overall), played six seasons in Carolina under current Washington head coach Ron Rivera.

Turner played the last two seasons for the Los Angeles Chargers (2020) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (2021).

It is believed Turner and the Commanders agreed to a one-year deal for $3 million. Turner has been a stud in the league, having been a Pro-Bowler in the 2015-2019 seasons.

Former Panthers guard Andrew Norwell signed with Washington earlier in March, as Washington sought to replace left guard Erick Flowers whom they released in March.

Turner is being brought to bring quality to the right guard spot along with Wes Schweitzer after Brandon Scherff declared multiple times he wanted to conclude his career in Washington, yet signed the very first day of free agency with Jacksonville.

Rivera last had a winning season in Carolina in 2017 (11-5). Understandably, there will be questions about how often former Carolina players can continue to be called upon and actually contribute, improving Washington.

There have even been comments alluding to the Washington “Commanthers.” Yet, also understandably, this is only a one-year deal, so Rivera and the Commanders are not making a long-term commitment, nor is Turner to them.

Ron Rivera spoke with Carson Wentz before Commanders selected Sam Howell

Ron Rivera made sure to let quarterback Carson Wentz know the Commanders were taking Sam Howell before he found out elsewhere.

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When Washington head coach Ron Rivera met with the media Saturday evening to discuss the Commanders’ draft class, one thing stood out in discussing new quarterback Sam Howell.

Washington, which drafted Howell at No. 144 overall, now has three quarterbacks on the roster: Starter Carson Wentz, last season’s starter, Taylor Heinicke, and Howell.

In discussing Howell and the value he presented to Washington, Rivera said he also spoke to Wentz before the Commanders drafted Howell.

I had an opportunity to talk with Carson before we made the pick; I wanted to make sure he understood that this is just all about developing a young guy more so than anything else,” Rivera said.

“He’s our number one going forward, and he just appreciated the fact that I gave him the heads up, which I thought was really cool. He was actually pretty excited because he just thinks that there are a lot of good things about Sam.”

Interesting. First, it’s a good thing Rivera called Wentz and told him Washington was adding a quarterback and that Wentz was “excited” to work with Howell.

However, why should the coach feel the need to reach out to his new quarterback to inform him the team was taking a rookie in the fifth round?

This shouldn’t be a big deal. I doubt Wentz is concerned with Howell, as Rivera and Washington have done everything to make him feel comfortable and wanted. But everyone remembers when Wentz was upset when the Eagles selected Jalen Hurts in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.

This one is different. Howell was NOT a second-round pick. While many believed he was at the least a second-round talent, the Commanders weren’t picking him until the value became too great to ignore.

No one outside of Washington media and fans understands quarterback controversies better. What happens when Wentz has his first two-interception game? Will fans clamor for Howell? We’ve seen this story many times through the years.

Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter. If Wentz can’t handle Washington adding a fifth-round rookie, you know he’s not your guy anyway.

In hindsight, some thoughts on Washington’s 2022 NFL draft

More thoughts on some of Washington’s 2022 NFL draft class.

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Jahan Dotson (Rd 1, 16): Dotson must have an unbelievable “catch radius” because that was the buzz phrase from the Commanders brass. And the trade back from No. 11 to No. 16 was certainly maximized by Washington. The Commanders are banking on Chris Olave not being that much better than Dotson, and they also picked up Brian Robinson and Sam Howell with picks traded to them during the draft.   They had needs and thus needed to trade back, so I am glad they did trade back.

Brian Robinson Jr. (Rd 3, 98): Robinson is not the receiver J D McKissic is out of the backfield. Yet, it is also true that McKissic is not the insider runner that Robinson is. McKissic is coming off of a neck injury and Antonio Gibson did have fumble problems last season. Robinson might become an interesting short-yardage asset and is certainly a more powerful runner than Jaret Patterson or Jonathan Williams displayed in 2021.

Phidarian Mathis (Rd 2, 47): Mathis might be a better run defender than Matt Ioannidis and Tim Settle. Thus he might actually provide what those two defensive tackles did not. Yet, the other side of the coin looks (at least for now) to also be just as true. Settle and Ioannidis both were more mobile against the wide runs and providing pass rush. Mathis is known to be good at occupying blockers, which would help the middle linebacker in particular.

Remember how Aaron Rodgers was upset that Green Bay did not contact Rodgers, preparing him for their late first-round choice of Jordan Love? The Commanders must have learned from that as well, because Saturday they contacted Wentz, informing him of their intention to draft UNC QB Sam Howell in the fifth round (144).

With Coach Ron saying this next season is going to be a good step up for Washington, did you notice in this draft the Commanders chose only one underclassman? And that guy was Howell, whom they would rather not have to play in 2022. They upgraded at starter with the trade for Wentz and they couldn’t pass up the opportunity to perhaps draft for the future as well, at the game’s most significant position.


Instant analysis: Washington selects two in 7th round

Washington adds a versatile offensive lineman and a cornerback with its final two selections.

The Washington Commanders closed out their 2022 NFL Draft by making two selections in the 7th (final) round.

At No. 230 the Commanders selected Tulsa Guard 6-foot-4 323 pound Chris Paul.

Paul has experience playing both guard and tackle. One can easily imagine hearing Ron Rivera’s voice in the draft room, “Paul has position flex.” Here is Paul at 323 running the 40 at the Combine.

At No. 240, Washington selected Oklahoma State CB Christian Holmes (6-1, 205).

Holmes is physical, coming up with force when sitting in his zone. However, his man coverage is why he lasted until the 240th selection. Holmes a 5th-year senior, started all 13 games for the Cowboys (Big 12 Conference).

However, Holmes tested to be a good athlete, accumulating a 9.1 on the Relative Athletic Score.

Consequently, might Washington perhaps attempt to convert him to Free Safety and see if he can develop in that role?

Instant analysis: Washington selects Cole Turner at No. 149

Cole Turner is an intriguing fifth-round selection for the Commanders.

With Logan Thomas rehabbing a torn ACL, the Washington Commanders selected Cole Turner with the 149th pick in Day 3 of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Turner, out of Nevada, met with Washington for a private workout recently, along with Nevada quarterback Carson Strong. Turner was actually a wide receiver then transitioned to tight end.

Anyone watching Carson Wentz while a Philadelphia Eagle, recalls Wentz loved to throw to his tight ends. Turner brings a big target to the Washington offense measuring 6-foot-6 and 246 pounds.

He only ran a 4.76 40 yard dash.  Yet, Turner does seem to be a natural pass-catching tight end on film and could become productive in the red zone for the Commanders. During his senior season at Nevada, Turner collected 62 receptions for 677 yards and 10 touchdown receptions.

When looking at the film of Turner running routes and catching passes, older Washington fans may be reminded of former Washington TE Clint Didier. Didier was 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and in his six seasons as a Redskin, caught 129 passes for 1,815 yards and 19 touchdown receptions, averaging 14.1 yards per reception.

Washington was selecting No. 149 because they had traded No. 120 to Carolina for the No. 144 and 149 selections. With 144, the Commanders took UNC QB Sam Howell and then Turner at 149.




Instant analysis: Washington selects Sam Howell at No. 144

Sam Howell was a steal for the Washington Commanders in round five.

Looking for quarterback depth, the Washington Commanders selected North Carolina’s Sam Howell with the 144th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Washington had actually owned the No. 120 pick but traded back with (pause) you guessed it, the Carolina Panthers, enabling the Commanders to launch the 5th round with the opening pick.

Howell is reunited with former Tar Heel and current Commander wide receiver Dyami Brown, taken in the third round of the 2021 draft.

Howell threw 92 TD passes to only 23 interceptions at UNC and became the sixth quarterback drafted in this year’s rookie class.

Howell is tough physically and mentally, not afraid to run and throws a nice long ball as well. Washington fans will love to see his long ball next preseason.

The Patriots having chosen QB Bailey Zappe late in the 4th round, surprisingly meant Howell was still available for Washington. Coach Ron Rivera had said all along, he would like to have Wentz, Heinicke and a rookie. He probably never dreamed it would be Sam Howell at No. 144.

Great value, great potential this late in the draft. Rivera, Mayhew and Hurney could not pass up Howell.

Instant analysis: Washington selects Percy Butler in 4th round

Percy Butler can help Washington on defense and special teams immediately.

The Washington Commanders selected Percy Butler (Safety) out of Louisiana at No. 113 on day 3 of the 2022 NFL draft in Las Vegas.

Butler is a tremendous athlete running a 4.36 40, who will instantly replace Deshazor Everett, being much better in pass coverage, and help on special teams his rookie year backing up Bobby McCain.

Pro Football Talk analyst Chris Simms praised Butler before the draft, and literally as soon as Washington selected him.

Troy Apke has been the gunner, playing mostly special teams. It could also be the case that the defensive coaches may be looking to replace Apke as well. Apke was converted to cornerback last season.

Butler was second-team All-Sun Belt Conference his senior season of 2021, accumulating 61 tackles, six for loss, four pass breakups, one blocked kick in 12 games.

Well, the young man certainly possesses a great deal of confidence.



Jahan Dotson on playing with Carson Wentz: ‘A dream come true’

Playing with Carson Wentz is a “dream come true” for Jahan Dotson.

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When the Indianapolis Colts traded quarterback Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders last month, many negative stories emerged regarding Wentz.

One of the more troubling “reports” centered around Wentz being a bad teammate. However, former teammates quickly came to Wentz’s defense. The same pattern occurred in Philadelphia, with teammates standing up for Wentz.

In the 2022 NFL draft, the Commanders gave Wentz some help, selecting Penn State wide receiver Jahan Dotson at No. 16 overall in the 2022 NFL draft.

After Washington selected Dotson, he received a text message from his quarterback. On Friday, in his introductory press conference, Dotson described what it will be like to play with Wentz.

“It’s honestly amazing,” Dotson said. “He actually texted me last night, and I read the text about five times because I couldn’t believe Carson Wentz was texting my phone. It’s pretty cool, honestly. Seeing him play, watching him play for the Eagles, watching him play for the Colts, and being able to play alongside of him is honestly a dream come true. I wouldn’t rather have it any other way. I just can’t wait to get to work with him.”

Dotson grew up in Pennsylvania and played for Penn State. He’s seen plenty of Wentz, and it sure sounds like he believes in Wentz’s ability as a quarterback.

So what did Wentz tell him?

“He was just telling me congratulations, soak in the moment, enjoy the moment and he’s gonna be ready to get to work, Dotson answered.”

Hmmm, does that sound like a bad teammate or leader to you?

Wentz has received a lot of negativity, most of which is unfair. Most of it just seems personal. Can you criticize his play on the field? Absolutely. Wentz has had his share of issues in recent years. However, some criticize Wentz for other things, which is ridiculous.

You can count on his new receiver as someone who is excited to catch passes from the former MVP candidate.

Instant analysis: Washington selects Alabama RB Brian Robinson Jr. in 3rd round

What does Brian Robinson Jr. bring to the Commanders in 2022?

“With the 98th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Washington Commanders select Brian Robinson Jr. RB, Alabama,” said Washington DE Chase Young.

Robinson became the second Alabama player drafted by Washington in this draft as Phidarian Mathis (DT) was chosen at No. 47 in the second round.

Robinson had played little at Alabama having to wait his turn behind great college backs Damien Harris, Joshua Jacobs and Najee Harris. But when provided the opportunity his senior season, Robinson gained 1,343 yards in 271 carries for a 5.0 yards per carry average and 14 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 35 passes for 296 yards (8.5 yards per reception) and 2 receiving touchdowns.

Observed him in games this season, being decisive in making that one-cut, attacking the defense style of running. Robinson was measured at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. He ran a 4.53 40 and recorded a 30″ vertical leap.

He was first-team All-SEC in 2021, and in a huge national semifinal game against Cincinnati rushed 26 times for 204 yards.

Washington usually maintains three running backs on their 53-man roster. The front runners for the three spots will be Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic. Robinson will need to beat out Jaret Patterson, and Jonathan Williams for the final spot. McKissic is coming off of a neck injury as well.

It also would appear, if Gibson is not extended or demands too much money after his fourth season, Robinson is being drafted (3rd round) to develop and prepare himself for the possibility of succeeding Gibson as the primary back.

Washington came into the draft not owning a third-round selection, having traded it to the Indianapolis Colts in the Carson Wentz deal.

The Commanders then made the first trade of this 2022 NFL draft when they traded their No. 16 overall choice to the New Orleans Saints for the Saints’ No. 16, 98 and 120 selections.