STRENGTHS - A tough and physical cornerback, Howard shows no hesitation putting his hands on receiver and playing physical in man coverage. Blessed with good height and long arms, he can match-up with tall receivers and can reach in front of receivers to break up passes. From "off" and "zone" alignment he flashes a good closing burst on quick hitting passes and is willing to make hard hit as ball arrives to try and break up pass. Is fast coming up the field to make tackle/hit in run support and on quick hitting passes in front of him. With his height, toughness and willingness to hit, Howard has the physical traits to contribute on special teams coverage units.
WEAKNESSES - Bad footwork/technique hinders Howard's ability to consistently make plays on the ball. His backpedal is flat-footed and choppy, which hinders his ability to get out of pedal quickly. At the transition point his feet tend to get splay-footed, which kills his ability to "click and close" fast on passes in front of him. His bad backpedal also kills his ability to flip hips to turn and run with receiver - Loses step and lacks burst to recover. While he is very willing to come up and make tackles/hits, he is so willing that he gets out of control and ends up diving/lunging too often which leads to missed tackles.
SUMMARY - Howard looks the part of a tall NFL cornerback on the hoof, but he allows too many catches. Not only does he have bad footwork/back-pedal, but he is not an naturally instinctive cornerback. His aggressiveness and desire to close and try and make a play on passes in front of him leads to him biting on double moves and pump fakes, allows significant separation and cannot recover. Right now Howard is a better athlete than football player, but he is a good athlete who possesses good height, which is why he will get drafted late or signed as a free agent. Overall, he is a developmental cornerback prospect that I would sign as a free agent after the Draft with an eye towards placing him on the practice squad to see if he can become a better player if he learns better footwork/technique.