Howard Draft Analysis

Willie Howard

Defensive Lineman
298 pounds
Born 12/26/77



The range of opinions on most players varies, especially later in the draft. Here are snippets of information from various draft experts on the Vikings’ second-round pick, defensive tackle Willie Howard:

Ourlads: "Versatile. Played inside primarily but has some experience outside — could project as a 3-4 end. Has a board upper body and average arm length. Needs to fill out and improve his overall strength. High energy competitor. Has decent initial quickness. Not explosive. Gets knocked upright and yields ground too easily but he sheds blocks well and does a solid job in run defense. Disciplined and instinctive … Has a knee injury in his background."

Lone Star Football: "Tremendous leader who’s respected and looked up to by his teammates. Possesses a quick, effective spin move on the pass rush. Is as tough against the run as against the pass. Powerful, with good strength in both his arms and legs. Tough as nails and will play when injured … Wasn’t the consistent inside pocket-pusher in 2000 he was in 1999, especially if the path to the QB was long. Needs to be a little stronger at the point and there were occasions when it looked like he was still worried about his knee. Leaves his feet at times when stacking at the point of attack."

Mel Kiper (ESPN): "While he didn’t take over games on a regular basis last season, the opposition knew that he always had to be accounted for on every snap. Howard has put in the time necessary to improve his pass-rush techniques while playing the game at a super-high intensity level. In the NFL, (he) could figure at any spot along the defensive front. That versatility makes Howard a very solid early-mid second-round choice if he’s still available at that point in the draft."

Joel Buschbaum (PFW): "Very durable. Has a thick body and quick mind … Above-average athlete with good feet. Showed how good he is capable of being in 1999, when he was in the best shape of his career and played with great hunger and intensity. Also looked very good at the Senior Bowl … Disappointing senior year after reporting back in less-than-ideal shape. Has to play with great intensity and focus, like he did during Senior Bowl week, to be effective. Lacks great power as a tackle and is not as fast as teams would like at end. Tends to play too upright and gets hung up on blocks too often."


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