Scouting Report: Xavien Howard, CB

Howard might not be a household name at CB, but if you watch his film, that might change.

Howard might not be a household name at CB, but if you watch his film, that might change.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Well, you knew it was only a matter of time before I went back to scouting a Cornerback. The funny story is, I was actually scouting another guy when Xavien Howard caught my attention. I decided to switch gears and check out a few more games of a relatively unknown guy in the draft.

I will be first to admit, I sort of forgot about Xavien Howard. He was not on my preseason watch list and my only real exposure to him this year was when Baylor played Iowa State. I was actually watching Texas Tech’s La’Raven Clark when Howard kept showing up. Anytime I see a Corner who is willing to come up and make a tackle, it catches my attention. I finished the game and decided to see what I had on the DVR for Baylor and luckily I had the TCU, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State games.  Instead of continuing with Clark (I will finish him up soon, I promise) I stayed up much later than I will admit and watched Howard, and for the most part, really liked what I saw. Here is the full report.

Name: Xavien Howard (#4)

School: Baylor (Jr.)

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 200 Lbs.


Howard has great size for the position, not only in height but in bulk. He lined up primarily in man coverage in college and was asked to cover the opponents best receiver week in and week out. Howard is fluid in his movements. He flips his hips well and has good acceleration to stay with receivers. He has long arms and uses them well at the line of scrimmage to knock receivers out of rhythm. Howard does a nice job of riding the hip of receivers and shows nice hands, with 10 interceptions in his career. Howard is very physical and will fight through blocks to come up and make tackles. He plays the position with confidence and is competitive on every down.


Howard is inconsistent when tracking the ball. He turns to look for the ball and seems to be in position, but then the receiver still comes down with it. It is somewhat surprising considering he had 10 interceptions in just two years as a starter. He is also very grabby in coverage and he could be in for a lot of holding/pass interference calls if he doesn’t clean up his hand use. Howard has good long speed, but not great and there were times when a receiver would get separation downfield.


There is a lot to like when you watch Xavien Howard. I really love his size and his physicality. I like that he will come up and make a tackle. He is very smooth in his movements, especially for someone his size. He has to learn to keep his hands off at the next level or he will be a penalty machine, but I think with some coaching that can be fixed, because all the physical and athletic tools are there. I am not sure what to think about the ball tracking. If you want to see an example, go to (there is only 1 video for him and I cannot get just the short clip to show up here for some reason) and go to 3:55 and you will see what I am talking about. Great coverage until the very end. The same thing happened a couple other times in other games as well, but it is not a consistent thing, in fact, most of the time he tracks the ball well. I really think he has what it takes to be a very good corner in the NFL and he gets an early Day 2 grade from me. Depending on how the draft shakes out, if he is there when the Patriots come on the clock, I would be very tempted to take him.





20 Responses to “Scouting Report: Xavien Howard, CB”

  1. Marc says:

    Add this to my mock…. FREE AGENTS/EXTENTIONS
    1.Dont’a Hightower(extend 5/yrs)
    2.Jamie Collins(extend 5yrs)
    3.Jabaal Sheard(extend 4/yrs)
    4.Akiem Hicks(extend 4/yrs)
    5.Dwayne Allen(sign 4/yrs)
    6.Danny Trevathan(sign 5/yrs)
    7.Russel Okung(2/yrs)injury

  2. Marc says:

    2nd:Kenneth Dixon-RB-LA TECH
    3rd:Stephane Nembot-OL-COLRDO
    3rd:Tajae Sharpe-WR-UMASS(C)
    4th:Paul McRoberts-WR-S.E.MIZZ
    5th:Pearce Slater-OL-S.D.STATE(C)
    6th:Eric Rawls-DB-KENTUCKY ST
    6th:Montese Overton-LB-ECU(C)
    7th:Marshaun Coprich-RB-ILL ST
    7th:Glenn Gronkowski-FB-KAN ST
    7th:Alex Tucci-DL-COL ST(C)

    • J H TARBORO says:

      I like it Marc! i like both WRs, Nembot maybe too high but you never know. Do we really need another Gronkowski? I think in some crazy way they’re going to pull the trigger on Glen Gronkowski.

  3. steve earle says:

    Well if you all are going with new mocks I will too. Might as well add the possable comp picks hoped for.

    2) Sterling Shepherd WR Okla. (still my top choice)

    3a) Antwion Williams OLB (Best after Perry)

    3 cp) Eric Murray CB ( really good #2 CB across from Butler)

    4) Jatavis Brown LB/SS (sideline to sideline hitter, big upgrade backup SS)

    5cp) Willie Beavers OT ( Big upside, early contributer)

    6a) Devon Johnson RB ( “iron head” pounds inside runner)

    6cp) LaRavin Clark OT ( big up side developmental guy, all the measurables)

    7) Tanner McEvoy WR ( 6-6 230 that Hernandiz replacement ?)

    7cp) LaQuan McGowan FB/TE (410 lbs 6-7 & still athletic)

    • Russell says:

      I like It Steve, I think LB/SS Brown maybe better than Davis. Not sure McEvoy lasts till the 7th, word is out on him, 5th?

      • steve earle says:

        Yea that can happen when a talent like McEvoy starts getting attention. If McEvoy isn’t there I’d consider Jakeem Grant or Vernon Adams in that order. Both under sized but highly productive.

    • J H TARBORO says:

      nice job!!!

  4. Russell says:

    Looking at the Patriots roster , my Nick Caserio Mock;

    2nd- LB Joshua Perry
    3d – TE Nick Vannett
    3d-Comp. CB/S Sean Davis
    4th- OL Parker Ehinger
    5th Comp. WR Alex Erickson
    6th Houston DE Dean Lowery
    6th Comp. OL Joe Gore
    7th Houston RB Keith Marshall
    7th- OL Kyle Friend

    Please see my new article on the Patriots’ RB’s

    • J H TARBORO says:

      Russell, I like your mock and Dan Sullivan’s also. 3 OLs that’s really different, the possibilities!

  5. J H TARBORO says:

    My Patriots centric mock
    2) DE/OLB Bronson Kaufusi-BYU
    3) WR Leonte Caroo-Rutgers
    3) comp ( Revis ) RB Keyon Drake-Ala.
    4)CB Eric Murray-Minn.
    5) comp ( Wilfolk ) OT Willie Beavers- W.Mich
    6) DT DJ Reader-Clemson
    6) comp ( Vereen ) RB Devon Johnson-Marshall
    7) SS KJ Dillon- WVU
    7) WR Jehu Chesson-Mich.
    7 comp ( A. Ayers ) TE/OG La quan McGowan-Baylor

    • J H TARBORO says:

      I was trying to think of what i would really do if i were Nick Casario, most of these player fit what they do, what they need, and the type of player they would go for based on skillset. I would like to see a different draft, but i’m thinking about the economics, how they value the position, past picks, and beyond 2016.

      • steve earle says:

        I like it! I’d personally be torn between Sterling Shepherd and Kaufusi in 2nd but if I was sure Shepherd would be there at 3a I’d take them both and never look back. Also you have my guy Eric Murray, right! Hope your right about a 5th for Wilfolk and Beavers a great pick. Devon Johnson and LaQuan McGowan filling it out, Yes, I like it.

        • J H TARBORO says:

          Thank you Steve E, I’m was trying to think about logically,but it’s not what I would hope for,but I wouldn’t be mad at it.

  6. Dan Sullivan says:

    Patriots Mock Draft.

    2 Artie Burns CB Miami
    3 Le Raven Clark OT Texas Tech
    3 Christian Westerman G Arizona St.
    4 Javon Hargrave DT South Carolina St.
    5 Ryan Malleck TE Virginia Tech
    6 Jordan Howard RB Indiana
    6 Austin Blythe C Iowa
    7 Travis Feeney ILB Washington
    7 Frankie Williams CB Purdue

    Free Agent anyone that makes teams that doesn’t cost a fortune.
    Roger Goodall please put Brady issue to bed and give Patriots their deserving first round pick back. I look for a very exciting close Super Bowl!

    • Mike Gerken says:

      I am working on Clark right now and I don’t want to give away too much from the report but 3rd round might be a little rich for me.

    • steve earle says:

      I see you are intrested in LeRavin Clark too. He didn’t look at all good at the Sr.Bowl but then no OT did. Russell believes, and is probably right, that Clark will need lots of time and work/coaching to adapt from the Tex.T. style off to an NFL . Sense we don’t have a 5th I’ve moved Clark down to a sixth understanding it will take a good year or more before he can play regularly. One thing is I think we have the time another is his run blacking ability looked good. Still I’d not be happy taking him as high as a 3rd or 4th right now. That could change at the combine have to wait and see.

  7. J H TARBORO says:

    I like this kid, despite his negatives, the best thing i like watching about Xavien, he’s good at stacking his WRs and running the route for them and contest most of 50/50 balls thrown his way. Good coaching could break some negative habits.

  8. steve earle says:

    Howard sounds very interesting Mike but alot of how you describe his grabby hands reminds me of your eval of Eric Murray when I asked you about him. Murray is a couple inches shorter but only a couple lbs lighter and he too comes up and hits. Wouldn’t NFL coaching reduce Murrays tendency to grab just as well as it would Howards? My other thing is if Howard is gone before our 2nd couldn’t Murray be an option for one of our 3rds? Murray is currently being rated in the 4th.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Howard and Murray are similar in their physical play. Too me, Howard’s size and fluidity make him a better prospect. I said it a little differently in the report, but JH says it nicely in his comment about stacking receivers and running the routes.
      To me Howard really does have #1 corner traits with some habits that need to be fixed. Murray’s a little more limited from an athletic standpoint and I think he is a #2, but could be a very good #2.
      It is those reasons that I have Howard higher than Murray.

      • steve earle says:

        Thanks Mike, that’s what I was thinking and your reply qualifys mine. As you commented in your report Howard may not reach our 2nd so I’m okay with a good #2 CB with a 3rd.

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