“Needs to work on consistency with…” is a phrase that you should not have to keep repeating when mentioning your second round pick you traded up for. I had to keep repeating these words when taking notes on Baylor cornerback Xavien Howard while watching his game film.
I understand he isn’t the first round pick for the Dolphins and you will not get a finished product in the second round, but there are a lot of glaring inconsistencies with Howard.
Howard does have qualities and traits that can work in the NFL. He has good length and is pretty good at using his length. He also has pretty good ball skills. He also may fit the scheme that Joseph wants to run in Miami. The problem is either his lack of athleticism and poor coaching.
His improper technique can be fixed with coaching, but the lack of athleticism and his hesitancy to attack are things that cannot be fixed through coaching. His combine scores translate to his deficiency on film. Here is Howard’s athletic profile spider web, it isn’t very good. I hope I am wrong about Howard but I just don’t see it.
A growing concern while watching Howard’s film is that he gets beat deep, it seems he got beat deep once a game. On this play Howard gets burnt and the WR doesn’t even put a move on Howard.
On this play Howard shows sloppy technique in his back pedal. Howard’s nose needs to be over his toes. He also flips his hips way too soon instead of using a weaving technique. This results in him breaking poorly on the ball, and the resulting TD.
Howard needs to do a better job finding the wide receiver and being in position to make a play on the ball. This play makes Howard look like a high school junior varsity corner back. Howard apologists may say he was pushed on this play. Howard was barely pushed and that is what he will see in the NFL so he better get used to a little pushing.
Howard shows a good read and react on this play. The offense is running a screen play. Howard recognizes it and reacts quickly enough to avoid the blocker. Howard makes a nice shoe string tackle.
There is a phrase in football called long levers is strong levers, this means long arms equals to having strength. Arm length is a very intriguing aspect to Howard's game. On this play Howard uses his arm length to control the WR. He is able to keep the WR in front of him by pushing him with his arm. Howard’s stiff arm on this play is a big problem for the WR.
If a cornerback gets called on a lot of penalties in college, he will be a penalty factory in the NFL. There were too many clips of seeing a referee saying the number four while watching film on Howard. This clip shows Howard getting beat deep again, and again he gets grabby and is called with a penalty.
Howard needs to learn how to consistently get off blocks. I have seen him too many times get stuck on blocks. Howard needs to learn to avoid or shed blocks. Here is an example of Howard getting blocked out of the play which renders him useless.
Once again Howard’s back pedal prevents him from making a play on the ball. He is leaning back way too much which causes him to take one or two extra steps to regain his balance. If Howard had a good back pedal on this play he could make a play quicker on the ball or the receiver.
Howard shows great red zone coverage on this play. He is able to get into the WR's hip pocket and not be concerned about getting beat deep. Howard turns his head at the right moment and is able to make a great play on the ball.
Howard demonstrates on this play that he has the ability to be physical. Like most other aspects of his game, I wish he was more consistent with his tackling. But for this play he does a good job.
Howard shows really good awareness and ball skills on this play. He is covering a receiver deep down field. He notices that the QB is about to throw to an underneath receiver and jumps that route for an interception.
I have noticed that Howard is hesitant to make a tackle at times. On this play he waits too long and gets blocked instead of firing to the WR and making a play on the ball carrier.
Howard again needs to work on his consistency with tackling. Sometimes he makes great tackles other times he misses easy tackles. On this play Howard has a chance to make a tackle on the QB. He instead whiffs and lets the QB run for another five yards.
This film review was done by Matthew Knowles. Follow him on Twitter: @blueflamespcl
Latest Dolphins News