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UNC QB and Indian Trail native Sam Howell selected by Commanders in NFL Draft

Howell was the 144th overall pick, and had been projected to go as high as the first round.
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) passes the ball against North Carolina State during...
North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell (7) passes the ball against North Carolina State during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Raleigh, N.C., Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)(WITN)
Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 4:04 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Carolina Panthers selected Charlotte native Ikem Ekwonu on Thursday night, and now another local player has been drafted into the NFL.

On Saturday afternoon, the Washington Commanders selected UNC quarterback and Sun Valley standout Sam Howell with the first pick in the fifth round of this year’s draft.

Howell was the 144th overall pick, and had been projected to go as high as the first round during different parts of the pre-draft process.

He came into the draft as a consensus top-five quarterback in this year’s class, but in a year when only one quarterback was taken in the first two rounds, Howell along with his fellow signal-callers fell down the draft boards.

Howell led the Atlantic Coast Conference in total yards and touchdowns in 2020, and accounted for 111 total scores during his three seasons with the Tar Heels.

The Commanders traded for Carson Wentz earlier this offseason, so Howell’s path to the starting job in Washington does not seem immediate. Former Panther Taylor Heinicke will also be back with Washington in 2022.

He ranks second all-time in high school career passing yards in North Carolina, and was named the 2018 North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior year.

Related: Carolina Panthers trade up, select QB Matt Corral in third round of NFL Draft

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