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The Commanders grabbed North Carolina QB Sam Howell with the 1st pick of Round 5. Howell started all 3 years at Chapel Hill, opening his career impressively with 3,641 passing yards and 38 TDs as a freshman and 3,586 yards and 30 TDs as a sophomore. He took a considerable step back this past season, though, finishing with 3,056 yards and 24 TDs. Losing Javonte Williams, Michael Carter, Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome to the NFL certainly played a part, but Howell also set a 3-year low in Pro Football Focus passing grade. Howell did set career highs with 828 rushing yards and 11 TDs in 2021, though. He has plenty of arm strength and might be the best deep-ball thrower in this year’s QB class. Howell is also entering the NFL at just 21 years old, so there’s upside here. He’ll compete with Taylor Heinicke for Washington’s backup job behind Carson Wentz at least to open this season. But Howell has the potential to develop into the Commanders’ starter down the road.

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