Thomas Howard interview

Discussion in 'Draft Zone' started by Nors, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Thomas Howard Interview

    One thing is certain and that is if you have the talent then NFL scouts will find you. U.T.E.P. was once a bit of an afterthought on the scouting trail but that isn't the case anymore thanks to LB Thomas Howard. One of the fastest and most athletic players at his position in the country, Howard may not be well known on the national level right now but that will all change by the time the 2006 NFL Draft rolls around. Thomas was kind enough to check in with Scott Wright and answer some questions about his game, the NFL Draft and much more.

    Scott Wright: What is your accurate height, weight and forty time?

    Thomas Howard: 6'3'' 240 4.38 :eek:

    Scott Wright: You actually walked on at U.T.E.P. and began your career as a defensive back. How did you evolve into a linebacker and how do you feel that experience in the secondary has helped you at your current position?

    Thomas Howard: Yes, I did walk on at UTEP. I thought that I was going to receive a scholarship, but I didn't make the cut so I walked on. My freshmen year, red shirt freshmen year that is, I gained a solid fifteen pounds which took me to about 215 or 220 pounds and I have just put on a few pounds every year after that. Coming from the secondary, I have the speed of a safety or even faster and my ball handling skills are as good as you are going to find.

    Scott Wright: You have some entertainment roots in your family with your father having been drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs (1977) and your cousin a member of the musical group En Vogue. Do you feel you're better prepared for the fame that awaits you?

    Thomas Howard: Well, I don't really know my cousin from in En Vogue, if she was to walk by me on the street she would not know me from you, so... But the stories and lessons that my father shares with me about his experiences in the league and in college can't do anything but help me. If it is fame that awaits me, then I will takie it in stride, one day at a time and ask God to guide me with my every move.

    Scott Wright: Up until last year U.T.E.P. wasn't talked about much by the national media. Do you feel you are still underrated as a player and prospect because you don't play at a "traditional powerhouse" program?

    Thomas Howard: Well, there is no doubt about it, that bigger programs get more publicity, then the quote / un-quote mid major schools. But as time goes along, folks are going to find out about you if you're a good player because a good thing can't hide forever. Just like David Carr when he played down at Fresno State, it wasn't that hard for the everyone to finally find out how good he was. But that's just how it is. But I do believe that this year will be good for me now that my name is out there more than it was last year.

    Scott Wright: What do you feel is your greatest strength as a football player and what area do you feel you need to improve in?

    Thomas Howard: My strongest area is my speed, playing from sideline to sideline, and my ability to rush the passer.

    Scott Wright: What NFL linebacker do you most admire and who do you think you compare favorably to?

    Thomas Howard: I admire any NFL player who is taking this opportunity in their lives to give back to the community, take care of their families and is a positive role model to all the kids growing up, watching them and dreaming about one day being in their position. I'm not sure exactly, but people have said that my body style and game reminds them of Keith Bullock of the Tennessee Titians. I have not actually watched his game too close, but I know he is a good one.

    Scott Wright: Who is the best player you have faced during your career?

    Thomas Howard: I am not sure, but I know that we play some good backs this year in DonTrell Moore and DeAngelo Williams.

    Scott Wright: What is your greatest football moment to date?

    Thomas Howard: My first start in college football came as a red shirt freshman, we were playing the Rice Owls at home on homecoming, a game that we won by a field goal. But the game had a lot of lead changes, and in the 4th Quarter I scooped a fumble caused by Kamal High, our starting DE at the time, and ran 54 yards for a TD.

    Scott Wright: Who was your favorite college and pro team growing up? Did you have a favorite player?

    Thomas Howard: My favorite professional team growing up was the Green Bay Packers. Just like the rest of the country I enjoyed watching Deion Sanders play and seeing whether or not he would run a punt return back for a TD.

    Scott Wright: At what point did you realize that you might have a future in football beyond college?

    Thomas Howard: That has been by dream since I was a kid, so I never thought that I didn't have a chance to play in the NFL. I knew that it would take hard work.

    Scott Wright: What do you plan to do once your playing career is over?

    Thomas Howard: Make sure that I manage my money right. There are too many former players in the NFL who are broke now, so I would do my damndest to make sure that I take care of my money and keep a thousand eyes on those who are suppose to be helping me to manage my money. That way at the end of my career I'll be able to take the money that I made playing and flip it over and over again, in whatever career I decide to make my main focus.

    Scott Wright: Is there one player on the team that you see developing into a star, either at the college or pro level?

    Thomas Howard: Quinton Demps, he already has that big play mentality, and he is a Big Time player that is an explosive impact player on our team. If and when he intercepts the ball look out because he is heading for the crib (to the house). He reminds me a lot of Ed Reed becuase he is always around the ball when it is in the air. Look for him to have a big year and to be asking him these same questions a few years from now because he is only a sophmore.

    Scott Wright: When you get your first professional paycheck what is the first thing you will buy?

    Thomas Howard: I'll probably get my mom a house or something like that. That will probably be my first big purchase. And then take my daughter and my nieces and newphews shopping.

    Scott Wright: Obviously it is still very early, but do you have any goals in mind when it comes to the NFL Draft (Round One, Top Three Rounds, etc.)?

    Thomas Howard: Of course I do, but I'll keep that to myself. But I would be lying if I told you I did not want to go in the 1st round. But only time wilI time.

    Scott Wright: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions and good luck!

    Thomas Howard: God Bless.
  2. Rack Bauer

    Rack Bauer Federal Agent

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    Is that the UTEP LB?
  3. Dayton Cowboy

    Dayton Cowboy Active Member

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    yes it is.. Nors is calling for him at 18, I believe
  4. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Stop talking for me - thanks

    He's a first round consideration. We might be able to trade down and still get a Ngata, Watson, Pope, Simpson, Howard etc. Too early.

    This kid could be real special opposite Ware. How do you value that?
  5. VACowboy

    VACowboy Well-Known Member

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    He runs a 4.38 at 6-3 and 240? Is it February yet?
  6. Dayton Cowboy

    Dayton Cowboy Active Member

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    Sorry Nors,

    I did not mean to step on your toes.. However it does appear you would like him at 18 if available.. I was hoping he would be on one of the rosters for either the Shrine or Hula games this weekend..
  7. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    No prob - I actually think we can get him lower than 18 - still early in the game though.....

    For the 6-3 240 size concerns on Howard- see 3-4 Porters size out of college 6-2 242 and he's a stud 3-4 OLB.......

    (6-2 1/4, 242, 4.65) Colorado State
    Notes: Played H-back in 1995 and ’96. Played 11 games and started one in ’95, catching four passes for 45 yards and zero touchdowns. Caught 9-165-0 in ’96, when he started the season opener. Moved to defensive end in ’97 and, although he started only two games, had 35 tackles, 16 tackles for loss and seven sacks. Started all but one game in ’98 and had 53 tackles, 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage on running plays and 15 sacks. Also picked off a pass and was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference Mountain Division selection.
    Positives: Very good athletic ability and speed for a defensive end. Can get up the field quickly and win a footrace to the outside. Covers a lot of ground and has very good chase-down speed. Has quick hands and quick feet. Has been a good special-team player. Is getting bigger and better.

    Negatives: A tweener who is small for a down end and a projection at linebacker. Lacks experience on defense. Slow to find the ball at times. Struggles to come off blocks. Gets outsized a lot. Does not have the frame to get much bigger.

    Summary: Porter is physically best-suited for outside linebacker if a team will be very patient with him, or else he’ll be a third-down pass rusher and special-team player who might develop into something more than that.
  8. JPM

    JPM Well-Known Member

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    I'll believe 4.38 when I see it. That's TNew fast.
  9. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    He's claiming 4.38

    I've seen 4.47 listedin a draft Bio. Even to run a 4.47 at 240 is sic. That makes him faster than most backs and WR's.

    THATS BEN WATSON FREAKISH SIZE/SPEED. And he ran down Champ Bailey and he's 255.....
  10. Rush 2112

    Rush 2112 New Member

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    Junior day results:

    4.4 wind aided. 4.49 against the wind. 4.33 indoors. 6-3/230.
  11. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Thats nutz
  12. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Thomas Howard
    2006 NFL Draft Prospects

    from Michael E. Modahl

    Positional Rankings: QB RB FB WR TE OT OG C - DE DT ILB OLB S CB - K P

    Position: Linebacker
    School: UTEP

    Status: Senior

    Height: 6-3

    Weight: 240

    40-Yard Dash: 4.47 (EST)

    Thomas Howard has rare speed, comparable to that of may wide recievers. He is the physical and emotional leader of the defense. His athleticism surpasses that of his more ballyhooed rivals like A.J Hawk and Chad Greenway. He roams the field like a defensive back and is an excellent wrap-up tackler. His speed and athleticism makes him an ideal fit in an aggressive 3-4 defense as a blitzing linebacker.

    Howard is still raw. He often relies merely on his athleticism to make plays. That will fly at the college level against non-power teams, but he could look like a lost puppy at the NFL level. His instincts must improve.

    Howard still needs work. He will have to improve his ability to diagnose plays and them make them at the next level. We have seen plenty of good linebackers come from small schools and produce in the NFL, so his time at UTEP should not be looked down upon.

    Howard's sheer athletic ability should make him a hot commodity on draft day. With patience and good coaching, he should be a star. I see Howard as a mid-to-late first round selection. A situation like the Steelers or another 3-4 team would be best for Howard considering I liken him to a young Joey Porter.Suggested Reading
    More NFL Draft Prospects

    2006 NFL Mock Draft

    NFL Draft Index
  13. Rush 2112

    Rush 2112 New Member

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    In the spring at UTEP's Junior Day he was a hair under 6-3 and 231 pounds. Could he be up 9 pounds in the last 9 months? Yes, pretty easily.

    Fact remains, he is smaller-much smaller than any SOLB BP has ever had or drafted. The bulk of those had serious college level experience toiling one on one with OT's on a play to play basis.

    Is he finesse LB or one that is stack and shed machine who can get off blocks and make plays?

    He does have pass rush skills but those sacks come off blitzes when his OL was engaged with the DL, not him.

    Good 4-3 LB, but we won't take him for the same reasons we weren't interested in DJ.

    He's no McGinest, Green (Pitt/Carolina), or Levon Kirkland.
  14. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    Publication calls Miner top defender

    Matthew Aguilar
    El Paso Times
    Tuesday, June 14, 2005

    Thomas Howard is expected to be among the premier linebackers in the nation in 2005. Dave Campbell's Texas Football magazine thinks he'll be the best defensive player in the state.

    The respected yearly annual, regarded as the state's gridiron bible, named the senior from Lubbock as the preseason Defensive Player of the Year in Texas -- marking the first time in the magazine's 46-year history that the Miners have flaunted a preseason player of the year on either side of the ball.

    "Some people might not think that Thomas Howard is the biggest name, but his selection shows how much thought Dave Campbell put into it," Texas Football managing editor Jake Shaw said. "He was a walk-on, he changed positions (from secondary to linebacker), he's added 40 pounds and it hasn't hurt his speed (4.3 in the 40-yard dash). We considered the future he has with his athleticism."
    Other Texas Football preseason honorees from UTEP are: receiver Jayson Boyd (second-team All-Texas offense); safety Quintin Demps (second-team All-Texas defense); and tackle Chris Mineo (second-team All-Texas defense).

    The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Howard earned second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors last year, totaling 62 tackles, 14 tackles for losses, eight sacks and two interceptions. He was third on the club in tackles, behind seniors Robert Rodriguez and Godwin Akinduro.


    In 36 games for the Miners, Howard has posted 211 tackles, 27 tackles for losses, 10 sacks and three interceptions. His tackle-for-loss total rates seventh in school history.

    He is expected to peak this year.

    "I'm honored to be mentioned alongside the great players in the state of Texas," Howard said. "It's going to add more pressure, but I like to be in those type of pressure situations. It just adds fuel to the fire. It gives me motivation."

    UTEP is featured on the cover of the 2005 magazine -- another first for the program. A photo of head coach Mike Price occupies the upper right corner with the words, "This Price is Right for UTEP."

    Price guided the Miners to an improbable 8-4 season last year after winning two games the previous three years. It resulted in the program's first bid to a bowl game -- the Houston Bowl -- in four years.

    It also has resulted in more national publicity than at any other time in program history.

    "There is definitely more UTEP presence (in the magazine) than in the past," Shaw said. "That is indicative of the turnaround. I've heard more from UTEP fans than all the other schools combined lately."

    The magazine is expected to hit the newsstands Monday.

    Matthew Aguilar may be reached at; 546-6166.
  15. Nors

    Nors Benched

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    McGinnest is 270 and plays more the Ware role. Kirkland is an ILB also at 270.

    Porter is the better analogy. DJ is a monster LB - too bad we missed on that. Denver is in and out of 3-4 I believe this year.

    Ware made a positional move - I see no reason Thomas Howard can't handle a new role. He has the size, speed, strength and pedigre!

    Lawson my fallback guy.
  16. Bobo

    Bobo New Member

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    How many have actually seen this guy play? I watched him closely a few times, and he was very average. I'll take a guy who makes more plays and runs 3 tenths slower any day.
  17. Rush 2112

    Rush 2112 New Member

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    There's a reason the vast majority of 3-4 OLB's were college DE's.

    Yes or no?

    Size and ability to deal with OT's matters.
  18. Rush 2112

    Rush 2112 New Member

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    I've seen him 2-3 times and he'd be average to good in a 4-3.
  19. Dayton Cowboy

    Dayton Cowboy Active Member

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    What is the difference in size between a 6'2"/236# and a 6'3"/240# outside linebacker?

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    I have seen this guy play quit a bit. If I had to compare him to somebody he might eventually compare to, in the NFL, it might be Julian Peterson. This kid can definatly run but I don't know about no 4.38 speed. He can move though. 240 also seems a bit big but he might be there. He has good work ethic but he does not have a lot of football experience, nor does he have good technique. He gets by on athleticisam a lot. I think that he can absolutly play in a 3-4, if he continues to grow but I think it's the rush LB he fits and not the strong OLB. I think he could do very well in a 43 right now. This kid can also cover in addition to rushing the passer but he is going to have trouble against the run IMO. He has to learn to run through blocks and not get caught up in traffic. He is not going to overpower NFL OLs. If you liked the way Derrick Johnson last year, you'll love this guy. He's not Derrick Johnson. He isn't as polished IMO. He has more to learn and probably less overall athleticisam but he might be a bit faster. If you hated Johnson, then this is not the LB for you.

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