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Washington Redskins 2016 Draft Profiles: Xavien Howard, CB

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2016 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins.

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Xavien Howard, CB
School: Baylor | Conference: BIG 12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 201 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Keenan Lewis

College Statistics

Player Overview

Xavien Howard is one of the best cover corners in the draft. For the past two years he blanketed receivers and locked down his side of the field for Baylor. Opposing quarterbacks avoided him, and when they did throw his way they rarely succeeded. Howard's vision, size, ability to mirror, instincts, and aggressive style of play give him an edge over most of the competition and it has allowed him to make a lot of plays on the ball over the past 2 years. He typically covered the opposition's top receiver and plays with outward confidence. Howard has been getting a steady buzz from the scouting / draft community with some believing he could even sneak into the back half of the 1st round. Could be he the cornerback the Redskins are looking for?

Strengths

  • Sticky in coverage to the point of being a pest. Can mirror and stick with his man stride for stride he excels in man coverage.
  • Fluid in his hips when changing direction has the ability to recover when beaten with initial steps.
  • Great ball skills and ability to located while on the run in the air.
  • Relentless in his competitive nature, scrappy and has a high motor. What is more impressive than 10 career interceptions are the 23 career pass breakups.

Weaknesses

  • Can play too physical at times silly grabs and pushes draw pass interference penalties.
  • His athleticism is fine for covering most receivers but he struggles to keep up with guys that have great long speed.
  • Remains blocked most of the time when playing the run, not enough initiative to fight through blocks and take a guy down.


Let's see his work: 





Combine Results

PRO DAY RESULTS

40-yard dash: 4.41 seconds
Vertical: 38 1/2 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 5 inches
3-cone: 6.94 seconds

How He Would Fit on the Redskins

Howard could be a legitimate Redskins target if the team trades back to the late half of the first round or even into the early 2nd round. Physically Howard checks the boxes that the Redskins are looking for in their corners. If he is drafted by the Redskins there won't be immediate pressure for him to start as he will be playing behind Chris Culliver, Bashaud Breeland and probably Will Blackmon. Howard would provide quality depth and a future starter at the position in the future. 

Howard will have to learn to play more disciplined however especially with his physical nature when covering receivers who are running deep routes. He will also need to employ his aggressiveness when playing the run and shedding blocks. I could see Howard eventually taking over Nickel duties from Will Blackmon during the season. His ability to mirror receivers and to play the ball in the air would benefit the Redskins if he could convert those to turnovers.