Since his freshman season at North Carolina, Bug Howard has been a factor in the Tar Heel offense. He came into the program as a top 300 recruit on ESPN, and caught 22 passes in his freshman season.
He improved all four years, breaking out with six catches for over 100 yards in the 2015 opener against South Carolina. It all culminated in Howard’s senior season, where he was the team’s second leading receiver. Howard had 53 catches for 827 yards in the 2016 season. His eight touchdowns led the team. One of those was the game-winning touchdown against Pitt, capping off a Tar Heels’ comeback.
The touchdown against Pitt showed exactly why Howard had success at North Carolina. He used his size to get in front the defensive back, and then didn’t drop the ball when it was thrown to him.
Size and hands are by far Howard’s best attributes. He’s 6-4 and 221 pounds, which makes him one of the bigger receivers in this year’s draft. He also dropped just four passes in his time at UNC. That combination can definitely be useful in some capacity at the next level.
The main thing that can be used against Howard is his lack of speed. For whatever it’s worth, he ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine, which was near the low end for receivers.
Most draft projections seem to place Howard somewhere around the 7th round. That of course means it’s possible that he will not be selected at all. However, there’s also always the chance that some team will like his size and take him a round or two earlier than expected. It is hard to tell when you get that far down in the draft.
Due to his size and his skill set, Howard will get a chance to make a team somehwere in 2017. Whether or not it comes via the draft is yet to be seen.