Position: Running Back
Weight: 230 pounds
School: Indiana Hoosiers
Combine Performance Data
Bench Press (225 pounds): 16 reps
Vertical Jump: 34 inches
Broad Jump: 10 feet, 2 inches
Jordan Howard 2016 NFL Draft Profile
Every year there are players who, through hard work and perseverance, find themselves on the radar of pro scouts despite very few accolades out of high school. Jordan Howard fits that profile. Rivals.com gave the Gardendale, AL native just a two-star rating. He was part of UAB’s 2013 recruiting class, unaware of what would befall the program just two years later.
Howard immediately made an impact for the Blazers. He started five games as a freshman and finished as the team’s second leading rusher with a freshman school record 881 yards on the ground. He also had three games of 100 or more yards. For his efforts, he would be named to Conference USA’s all-freshman team.
His sophomore season, though, would truly see him break out. His 1,587 rushing yards was the single-best mark for a running back in UAB football history. He also added 12 touchdowns on the ground while finishing seventh nationally in yards per game (132.25). His abilities as a workhorse back were on full display as he averaged 25.5 carries per game, good enough for second best in the nation.
But after the season, it was announced that UAB was shutting down their football program. This left Howard and his teammates scrambling to find another school to continue their college careers. Fortunately, the NCAA granted them immediate eligibility wherever they decided to transfer. This meant they didn’t have to sit out a year as is normally the case.
For Howard as well as wide receiver Marqui Hawkins, they found a home at Indiana. And in his lone year in Bloomington, the junior running back took the Big Ten by storm. Despite battling a nagging ankle injury for good portions of the year, Howard averaged 134.8 rushing yards per game. That was second in the Big Ten behind Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott and ninth nationally. His most impressive game of the year came against a Michigan team that at the time was giving up just 80 yards rushing per game. Howard would put up 238 yards on the ground against the Wolverines. He also had three total touchdowns in the narrow 48-41 double overtime loss for the Hoosiers.
He played a major role in getting the Hoosiers to a bowl game for the first time since 2007. And, as a result, he would be named consensus first team all-Big Ten. Howard would later announce that he would be foregoing his senior season and entering the 2016 NFL Draft.
- prototypical size for an every down back at the next level.
- exceptional down-field vision enables him to optimize space in second and third levels.
- powerful lower body gives him good leverage and ability to get yards after contact.
- patient runner that takes what the defense gives him on the perimeter.
- solid balance and lateral movement when running downfield.
- possesses requisite physicality to thrive in short yardage/goal-to-go situations.
- brushes through arm tackles with ease.
- willing blocker in passing situations.
- stepped up his game when moving to higher level of competition in Big Ten.
- has familiarity in pro-style schemes from his time at UAB.
- has a tendency to run too upright at times.
- change of pace element of his game good but not great.
- takes a lot of contact which could be an issue in a much more physical NFL.
- ran behind an immensely talented offensive line at IU; can he do the same if he goes to an NFL team that struggles in run blocking?
- dealt with a recurring ankle injury during his junior season.
- not much of a pass game threat; averaged just 8.16 receiving yards per game in college.
NFL Comparison: Rashad Jennings
Teams with Need at Position: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles
Projection: third to fourth round
Running backs haven’t exactly gotten a lot of love in the draft recently. Not a single team drafted one in the first round during the 2013 and 2014 drafts. Last year, just two (Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon) were taken in round one. But all that means is that there’s the opportunity to really find steals in the later rounds. Take Lamar Miller for example, who just signed a lucrative extension with the Houston Texans. He was drafted in the fourth round by Miami in 2012 and carved out an impressive first four seasons in the league. Last season, rookie Karlos Williams, selected in the fifth round by the Buffalo Bills, was similarly impressive.
Jordan Howard certainly possesses the skill set to replicate that success and contribute as a middle round selection. His story in rising from a less heralded two-star recruit to star Big Ten back is one to be celebrated. And if he can stay healthy, the potential is there for him to make an impact at the next level.