Delano Howell is flying way, way under the radar for next year, but he fits the profile of safeties we've drafted over the years. He's roughly the same size and speed as Meriweather (5'11, 195, 4.5), and I think he shows a promising mix of skills. Fills very well against the run. Strong blitzer. Could improve in man to man coverage, but that's generally not a strong point for most safeties, anyway. His deep zone coverage is . . . solid, not spectacular. He's a reliable centerfielder, and although he's very clearly
not a finished project yet, I think he'll improve considerably as a senior.
He will have started around 35 games by the end of the year, and should have over 200 tackles and double digit interceptions to show for it--and this is after transitioning from running back, so that's a nice career. He's productive and instinctive, and I like him as a late second/early fourth sort of guy right now. I'm curious to see how he does with another year of seasoning.
Early games last year:
Delano Howell vs Notre Dame and USC - YouTube
Watch the red zone defense on a couple straight plays, including a good read and open field tackle against a pretty darn good tight end about two minutes in. Nice work. He sheds blocks pretty well, too. He's undersized, but he's violent with his hands and does a good job keeping plays in front of him.
A few great hits against USC, but also a few mistakes. Not exactly mental flubs, usually, although he has a few; rather, he's a split second late on some of his reads. I chalk that up to inexperience, and I want to see if he improves this year.
Later in the year:
Delano Howell vs VT,Oregon,Arizona - YouTube
To sum up, I don't think he's as talented as Meriweather. I also don't think he's as prone to mistakes. He had five picks on the year, so he can make plays on the ball, but he seems to be more of the steady performer you can win with if the overall team talent is there.