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fishypete
01-13-2006, 12:19 PM
Overview</B>
Thomas Howard is an excellent athlete with exceptional speed and quickness for his position. The former strong safety moved into the starting lineup midway through his redshirt freshman season at weak-side linebacker before shifting to the strong-side as a junior. He found a home at his new position and quickly developed into one of the most feared pass rushers in the country.

Howard comes from great bloodlines, as his father, Thomas Sr., was only the tenth player in Texas Tech history to earn first-team All-American honors (1976). His father was named to Tech's Hall of Honor and the linebacker went on to a solid career in the National Football League after being chosen in the third round of the 1977 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. After seven years as a Chief (the last six as a starter), he finished his career with the old St. Louis Cardinals (1984-85).

Thomas was an All-District honorable mention at Estacado High School, adding All-City honors as a senior. He was named the team's Outstanding Defensive Back after registering 100 tackles and two interceptions his senior year as a strong safety. He also lettered in track and was a member of the National Honor Society.

After redshirting and performing on the scout team as a walk-on strong safety in 2001, Thomas played in eleven games at weak-side linebacker in 2002. He started four times, recording 31 tackles (23 solos) with two stops for losses and a pass break-up. He also recovered a fumble that he returned 54 yards for a touchdown, but missed most of the Southern Methodist and the entire Louisiana Tech games due to a right ankle sprain. The Sporting News named him to the All-Western Athletic Conference freshman team that year.

The following season, Thomas started eleven games at weak-side linebacker. He finished second on the team, collecting a career-high 118 tackles (67 solos) with two sacks and 11.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown and deflected a pass.

In 2004, Howard shifted to strong-side linebacker under new head coach Mike Price. While he only managed 62 tackles (48 solos), he tied for the team-lead and ranked second in the conference with eight sacks (fourth-best season total in school history). He made fourteen stops for losses, the ninth-best season total in UTEP annals. He also caused three fumbles, recovered two others, intercepted two passes and deflected four others to earn All-WAC second-team recognition.

Through four games in 2005, Thomas has registered 34 tackles (14 solos) with a 9-yard sack, 3.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and a fumble recovery. He also deflected three passes and intercepted another for a 20-yard return.

In 40 games, Thomas started 30 times for the Miners. He recorded 245 tackles (152 solos) with eleven sacks for minus 95 yards and 31 stops for losses of 147 yards. His 31 stops rank fifth on the school's career-record list. Howard also caused three fumbles and recovered four others. He gained 110 yards with a touchdown on four interceptions and deflected nine passes.

Analysis</B>
Thomas has steadily developed into an impact-type of player. He has outstanding lateral agility and range, doing a very good job of shortening the field by taking proper angles to the ball. He seems to have found a home at strong-side linebacker, where is able to free-lance and attack the ball, rather than operate in run containment like he did in the past. He shows urgency chasing down ball carriers along the corners and has an explosive first step to penetrate the backfield and close on the quarterback as an edge rusher and blitzer.

He shows very good flexibility and knee bend, looking sudden in his moves to redirect. He does a good job of keeping the plays in front of him and is active with his hands when trying to reroute tight ends and running backs in the short area. He is used as a nine-tech in under defense and as a stack linebacker in an over defense. Howard plays with his shoulders square when taking on tight end and works hard with his rip and swim moves to get off blocks.

Thomas is effective when asked to skate and shed blocks from a stack-off position, but needs to add more bulk and strength to prevent the bigger blockers from locking on and stymieing him when operating through trash. He plays with good body control, balance and agility. He has quick lateral movements in his chase from the backside, but is still developing the recognition skills to pick up reverses. His speed allows him to knife through kick-out blocks and he has developed a good feel to come off and make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

He shows natural feet in his zone drops, but tends to eye the quarterback too much, making him guess at the receiver's route progression. Thomas is best when allowed to take angles to the ball. He is quick coming out of the three-point stance as an outside rusher and has the cover skills to mirror the receivers and break on the ball. When the ball is thrown, Howard has the acceleration and burst to recover and redirect to the play. He has the leverage and speed to cut off the outside runner and is a hard hitter who will drive with his legs, extend his arms, wrap and secure.

Howard uses his hands well to jam receivers at the line and has the functional strength and good hand usage to keep blockers off his body. Thomas is more of an arm tackler, but will not hesitate to leave his feet in order to make the hit. He shows explosiveness on initial contact and is an all-out hustler with a strong desire to make plays in and out of the box. He performs well on all special teams and has a great work ethic.

Thomas is built more for speed, but with additional bulk and strength, he should develop into a fine all-around player. With another year of experience at strong-side linebacker, his competitiveness, speed and overall athletic ability will make him a top priority for a blitzing defense come draft day.

Scouting Report</B>
Positives…Has a well-defined frame with room for additional growth…Can readily adjust on the move and has a nose for the plays in front of him…Uses his hands effectively to shed blocks and has the arm strength to leverage and shed in attempts to get to the ball on the corners…Best making tackles on the move, as he utilizes his quickness to get through trash, taking proper angles to shorten the field and get to the ball carriers…Can fend off and reroute tight ends and backs with his hand jolt in the short area…Has excellent lateral movements and change of direction agility, staying square and low in his pads to make the tackle…Wraps up and makes sure tackles, showing the functional strength to attack with force.

Has the quickness to easily turn out of his backpedal and does a good job of opening his hips to close in pursuit…Does a good job of mirroring receivers on underneath routes and the acceleration to stay with the pass catcher when going deep…Excellent blitzer who shows explosiveness coming from the backside…Has the balance to stay on his feet and the burst to slip through and avoid blocks…Gets good depth in his pass drops and is developing natural hands to field the ball away from the body's frame…Plays until the whistle and while more explosive than strong, he shows natural pop in contact…Runs through traffic well and is quick to redirect when he over-pursues…Plays with true aggression and will not hesitate to face up and take on the bigger blockers.

Negatives…Is manning his third position at UTEP and is still developing his read-&-diagnose skills, but showed steady improvement throughout the 2004 season…Is relentless in pursuit and very active with his hands in attempts to shed, but lacks the bulk and could use more upper body strength to prevent the bigger offensive linemen from locking on and pushing him off the ball when working in-line…Is still developing a feel for the passing game, as he tends to spend too much time eyeing the backfield rather than staying with the receivers in their routes (has the recovery burst to compensate).

Career Notes</B>
Has started 31 of 40 games for the Miners…The defensive captain recorded 245 tackles (152 solos) with ten sacks…40 of his tackles killed opposing scoring drives, coming on third-down plays and added three more drive-killing stops on fourth-down plays…His 31 stops behind the line of scrimmage are topped only by Gonzalo Floyd (45, 1990-93), Barron Wortham (43, 1990-93), Brian Young (34, 1995-99) and Robert Rodriguez (33, 2001-04) on the school’s career-record list…Only active Miner to register a touchdown on a fumble recovery…Also added another touchdown on an interception return.

2005 Season</B>
All-American and All-Western Athletic Conference first-team preseason selection by The NFL Draft Report…Rated the best blitzer and premier strong-side linebacker in college football by The Poor Man's Guide to the NFL Draft…On the watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player; the Rotary Lombardi Award, presented to the top interior lineman; and the Dick Butkus Award, presented to the top linebacker...Serving as defensive captain, Thomas ranks third on the team with 34 tackles (14 solos) through four games…Had a 9-yard sack and 3.5 stops for losses of 13 yards…Recovered a fumble, deflected three passes and returned an interception 20 yards.


http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2006/02/sidedot-1.gif 2005 Game by Game Breakdown (http://www.nfldraftscout.com/members/ratings/gamebygame.php?pyid=19325&field=season5gbg)

2004 Season</B>
All-Western Athletic Conference first-team pick by The NFL Draft Report, adding second-team honors from the league's media and coaches…Started every game at strong-side linebacker…Ranked third on the team with 62 tackles (48 solos)…Second in the WAC with eight sacks for minus 59 yards…Only Melvin Besses (11 in 1979), Tony Tolbert (11 in 1988), Gonzalo Floyd (11 in 1994), Menson Holloway (10.5 in 2000) and Ricky Massey (10 in 1991) registered more sacks in a season for UTEP.

Collected 14 stops for losses of 74 yards, the fifth-best mark in the WAC during 2004…His fourteen stops rank sixth on the school's season-record list behind Lucien Johnson (17 in 1975), Robert Rodriguez (16 in 2004), Floyd (15 in 1991) and Holloway (15 in 2000)…Caused three fumbles and recovered two others…Gained 34 yards on two interceptions and deflected four passes…19 of his 62 tackles came on third-down plays to kill opposing scoring drives.


http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2006/02/sidedot-1.gif 2004 Game by Game Breakdown (http://www.nfldraftscout.com/members/ratings/gamebygame.php?pyid=19325&field=season4gbg)

2003 Season</B>
All-Western Athletic Conference second-team pick by The NFL Draft Report…Started eleven games at weak-side outside linebacker (first four and final seven contests)… Finished second on the team with a career-high 118 tackles (67 solos)…Had two sacks for minus 27 yards and 11.5 stops for losses of 58 yards…Credited with two quarterback pressures, a pass deflection and returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown… Thirteen of his 118 tackles came on third-down plays, killing opposing scoring drives.


http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2006/02/sidedot-1.gif 2003 Game by Game Breakdown (http://www.nfldraftscout.com/members/ratings/gamebygame.php?pyid=19325&field=season3gbg)

2002 Season</B>
Named to The Sporting News’ All-Western Athletic Conference Freshman Team...Played in eleven games, starting at weak-side outside linebacker vs. Rice, Tulsa, Boise State and Nevada…Sat out the season finale vs. Louisiana Tech and missed most of the Southern Methodist contest due to a right ankle sprain…Finished eleventh on the team with 31 tackles (23 solos)…Had two stops for losses of 5 yards, a pressure and a pass break-up… Returned a fumble recovery 54 yards for a touchdown…Added two third-down tackles that killed scoring drives.


http://www.finheaven.com/images/imported/2006/02/sidedot-1.gif 2002 Game by Game Breakdown (http://www.nfldraftscout.com/members/ratings/gamebygame.php?pyid=19325&field=season2gbg)

2001 Season</B>
Redshirted as a freshman, performing on the scout team as a strong safety after joining the team as a walk-on.

Injury Report</B>
2002-Missed most of the Southern Methodist game and the entire Louisiana Tech contest due to a right ankle sprain.

Campus Agility Tests</B>
4.40 in the 40-yard dash (wind-aided)…4.49 in the 40-yard dash (against the wind)…4.33 in the 40-yard dash (indoor track)…363-pound bench press…418-pound squat…286-pound power clean…38.5-inch vertical jump…32 1/8-inch arm length…10 7/8-inch hands…Right-handed…18/20 Wonderlic score.

High School</B>
Attended Estacado (Lubbock, Tex.) High School, playing football for coach Kelly…All-District honorable mention, adding All-City honors as a senior…Named the team’s Outstanding Defensive Back after registering 100 tackles and two interceptions his senior year as a strong safety…Also lettered in track and was a member of the National Honor Society.

Personal</B>
Communications major…Son of Percilla and Thomas Howard, Sr…Comes from great bloodlines, as his father was only the tenth player in Texas Tech history to earn first-team All-American honors (1976). His father was named to Tech’s Hall of Honor and the line-backer went on to a solid career in the National Football League after being chosen in the third round of the 1977 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. After seven years as a Chief (the last six as a starter), he finished his career with the old St. Louis Cardinals (1984-85)… Cousin, Terry Ellis, is a member of the musical group En Vogue...Born Thomas Arquis Howard on 7/14/83 in Lubbock, Texas.

NorthFloridaFin
01-13-2006, 12:29 PM
It's hurting my eyes!!! But he seems to be a good late round pick!!

fishypete
01-13-2006, 12:36 PM
It's hurting my eyes!!! But he seems to be a good late round pick!!

Actually he's rated at this time to be a late 2nd to a 3rd round pick. 6'3" 230 runs sub 4.4 times.

Nappy Roots
01-13-2006, 01:18 PM
IMO he goes to colts at the end of round 1. hes got perfect size, and speed for that system. it just fits far to well.

fishypete
01-13-2006, 02:00 PM
IMO he goes to colts at the end of round 1. hes got perfect size, and speed for that system. it just fits far to well.

Sounds reasonable Nappy....he could fit the Dolphins too....he be a perfect cover linebacker...and he'll get bigger in a year or two...since he has the frame.
Seems if the Dolphins are going to use the 3-4 more in the future...guy's like him are needed.

Nappy Roots
01-13-2006, 02:02 PM
Sounds reasonable Nappy....he could fit the Dolphins too....he be a perfect cover linebacker...and he'll get bigger in a year or two...since he has the frame.
Seems if the Dolphins are going to use the 3-4 more in the future...guy's like him are needed.


he doesnt fit the 3-4 at all IMO. we need to find another 3-4 ILB, he doesnt fit that type.

fishypete
01-13-2006, 02:22 PM
he doesnt fit the 3-4 at all IMO. we need to find another 3-4 ILB, he doesnt fit that type.


He's 5 pounds less than Zack...about the same size as Pope...he's the fastest linebacker I've seen in a long long time....how many linebackers can run a 4.33 on an indoor track...and consistiently run in the 4.4 sub range. He's 6'3"...and has the frame to add the extra weight....right now your probably correct in saying he's suited for the Colts or another indoor team...but in a year or so....he'll be around 250 and still be running faster than 99% of the linebackers in the NFL. Even Jason Taylor was graciously listed at 245 when he came out...and I'll bet he isn't alot more than that now. Not only is he great on coverage but blitzing...something Saban loves to do.

I wouldn't discount him in any way.

arsenal
01-13-2006, 02:26 PM
hes not 5 lbs less than zach, dudes up to like 240... hed be fine for an ILB in the 3-4 or an OLB in the 4-3..

ive really liked him and hope we can get him in the 2nd

fishypete
01-13-2006, 02:29 PM
hes not 5 lbs less than zach, dudes up to like 240... hed be fine for an ILB in the 3-4 or an OLB in the 4-3..

ive really liked him and hope we can get him in the 2nd

In the Dolphin digest I have they have Zack listed at 235...even if he at 240...thats only 10 pounds difference. Zack is 5'11"....this kid is 6'3"

RunningBackGuru
01-13-2006, 10:46 PM
IMO he goes to colts at the end of round 1. hes got perfect size, and speed for that system. it just fits far to well.

I agree. He should definately be good in the 1st round.

ChambersWI
01-14-2006, 12:47 AM
It's hurting my eyes!!! But he seems to be a good late round pick!!

he's a late 1st early 2nd.

Nappy Roots
01-14-2006, 04:31 AM
weight and height isnt everything when playing ILB in the 3-4, you also gotta be strong enough and want to take on gaurds. kids fast, but his style of play doesnt fit the 3-4 scheme. am i saying he couldnt play in it? no, cause ive never seen him play in it.

John Biello
01-14-2006, 04:37 AM
im sure regardless of what scheme you run, you can make room for a linebacker faster than most recievers and backs in the league...

amir7
01-14-2006, 11:31 AM
great athlete but cant play the 3-4 period

fishypete
01-14-2006, 12:02 PM
weight and height isnt everything when playing ILB in the 3-4, you also gotta be strong enough and want to take on gaurds. kids fast, but his style of play doesnt fit the 3-4 scheme. am i saying he couldnt play in it? no, cause ive never seen him play in it.


Why ILB? Althought he can play both ILB and OLB....He's better suited for OLB...Here's a kid thats 6'3" 230....and can run sub 4.4 times....what T.E. can't he cover? He has wide receiver speed....when the last time you heard of a real linebacker running a 4.33 on any track?

"No UTEP player made a bigger impact in the opener than LB Thomas Howard, the C-USA defensive player of the week who set the tone with 10 tackles, two tackles for losses, an interception, a fumble recovery and a sack.

An outstanding performance by Howard, the Miners never let New Mexico State off the ground until it was too late, holding the Aggies to minus-17 yards rushing, forcing four turnovers and recording eight sacks. Facing NMSU's wide-open should help prepare the Miners for Houston, but the Cougars run their offense more effectively with better athletes than NMSU.

"He had five unassisted tackles, five assisted tackles, he's breaking up passes, intercepting passes, recovering fumbles, sacking quarterbacks. He made a huge hit on the very first play of the game and the crowd went nuts. He was all over the field all night long -- just a really impressive game." -- UTEP coach Mike Price on LB Thomas Howard, the C-USA defensive player of the week."

Mike13
01-14-2006, 12:44 PM
where did you find that scouting report?

fishypete
01-14-2006, 12:46 PM
Just found out that Howard will be playing in the senior Bowl.

http://www.seniorbowl.com/2006/news/2006howard.htm

fishypete
01-14-2006, 12:49 PM
where did you find that scouting report?

http://www.nfldraftscout.com/

Nappy Roots
01-14-2006, 05:25 PM
Why ILB? Althought he can play both ILB and OLB....He's better suited for OLB...Here's a kid thats 6'3" 230....and can run sub 4.4 times....what T.E. can't he cover? He has wide receiver speed....when the last time you heard of a real linebacker running a 4.33 on any track?

"No UTEP player made a bigger impact in the opener than LB Thomas Howard, the C-USA defensive player of the week who set the tone with 10 tackles, two tackles for losses, an interception, a fumble recovery and a sack.

An outstanding performance by Howard, the Miners never let New Mexico State off the ground until it was too late, holding the Aggies to minus-17 yards rushing, forcing four turnovers and recording eight sacks. Facing NMSU's wide-open should help prepare the Miners for Houston, but the Cougars run their offense more effectively with better athletes than NMSU.

"He had five unassisted tackles, five assisted tackles, he's breaking up passes, intercepting passes, recovering fumbles, sacking quarterbacks. He made a huge hit on the very first play of the game and the crowd went nuts. He was all over the field all night long -- just a really impressive game." -- UTEP coach Mike Price on LB Thomas Howard, the C-USA defensive player of the week."




OLB in the 4-3, absolutely. OLB in the 3-4, absolutely not. by the way, Boss Bailey ran a 4.4 with a pulled hamstring.

fishypete
01-14-2006, 08:14 PM
OLB in the 4-3, absolutely. OLB in the 3-4, absolutely not. by the way, Boss Bailey ran a 4.4 with a pulled hamstring.

Your right Nappy....and what round did Boss Bailey get drafted in....the 2nd round 34th pick by Detroit.

By the way....they have Howard listed at 240 at the senior bowl website and if you take a look at the Pats linebackers....you'll see that 240 isn't that far away from what they weigh. By next year...in the weight room...Howard will be 250 easy.....he's still a growing boy....as mine were, eating me out of house and home. LOL.

cnc66
01-14-2006, 08:24 PM
Your right Nappy....and what round did Boss Bailey get drafted in....the 2nd round 34th pick by Detroit.

By the way....they have Howard listed at 240 at the senior bowl website and if you take a look at the Pats linebackers....you'll see that 240 isn't that far away from what they weigh. By next year...in the weight room...Howard will be 250 easy.....he's still a growing boy....as mine were, eating me out of house and home. LOL.

I only have one and I know that's the truth...

fishypete
01-14-2006, 08:30 PM
I only have one and I know that's the truth...

I have four grown up now...2 boys and 2 girls....and now it's their time to have fun and to get gray hair althought my 3 grandchildren sure keep all of us going and going.

Nappy Roots
01-14-2006, 09:08 PM
Your right Nappy....and what round did Boss Bailey get drafted in....the 2nd round 34th pick by Detroit.

By the way....they have Howard listed at 240 at the senior bowl website and if you take a look at the Pats linebackers....you'll see that 240 isn't that far away from what they weigh. By next year...in the weight room...Howard will be 250 easy.....he's still a growing boy....as mine were, eating me out of house and home. LOL.



like i said before, weight and height are only 1 part of the equation. 3-4 LBs for the most part are 4-3 DEs that can rush the passer and have the quickness to cover as well.