Friday, April 1, 2016

Path to the Draft | Xavien Howard

Photo courtesy of Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
CB Xavien Howard wasn't a highly touted prospect out of Houston, but he made his mark on the team in his junior season at Baylor. Howard played both defensive back and quarterback at Wheatley High School. He was named first team 2011 Class 4A All-State by the Associated Press. During his senior season in 2011, he totaled nine interceptions (two returned for TDs), 33 pass breakups, and 32 solo tackles. In his final game in high school, he rushed for 185 yards and two TDs, passed for 245 yards and two TDs, and returned two interceptions for TDs. Along with football he also played basketball and ran track.

Howard didn't play in any games in his freshman year but saw his first letter during his redshirt freshman season (2013). He played in all 13 games and totaled five tackles, one interception, and one forced fumble. Howard saw his stats skyrocket in his sophomore year as more experience helped him to develop into a true starting CB. He recorded 51 tackles, 1.5 sacks, four interceptions (returned for 40 yards), 13 pass breakups, and one QB hurry. Howard's speed and ability became even stronger during his final season at Baylor. He was touted as a first-team All-Big 12 honoree and started in all 13 games. He totaled 42 tackles, one tackle for loss, five interceptions, 10 pass breakups, one QB hurry, and one fumble return (returned for 30 yard TD).

Howard was one of six Baylor players invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February. At the combine, he recorded a 4.1 40-yard dash, 38.5 inch vertical, 122 inch broad jump, and 6.94 three-cone drill. At the Baylor Pro Day, his 40-yard dash got even better. He recorded a 4.38 40 (even faster than Corey Coleman), and 11.59 60 yard. Although most Baylor fans weren't happy about Xavien foregoing his senior season in favor of the NFL draft, his performance in front of NFL scouts has proven that the CB is ready for the pros.

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