Since Miami Dolphins defenseman Xavien Howard was drafted 38th overall in the 2016 NFL Draft by Baylor, he has become one of the best in the league in his position.
In just six seasons, Howard earned three Pro Bowl nominations and one All-Pro selection to the first team, while recording 241 tackles, 71 passes defended, 27 interceptions (league-leading since 2016), four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus took his time to pull together their numbers for press coverage, which the Dolphins use frequently, and the numbers for the past two years are favorable for Howard as he is listed as the NFL’s best press quarterback.
In press coverage, he received a reach rating of 87.3 for a 39.3% completion rate, a passer rating of 42.2, and 1.07 yards per coverage shot.
While the likes of Jamel Dean and Ronald Darby have allowed 0.34 and 0.39 yards per shot respectively, none of them play to the degree of press coverage the Dolphins’ fullbacks see. Howard (463) and Byron Jones (447), Miami’s two top players at that position, were ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, in total press releases.
The same can be said about passer rating. Darby (39.6) and Patrick Surtain II (39.8) led the league in passer rating but had fewer opportunities.
Here is what Monson wrote about Howard:
“Xavien Howard has been the best cornerback in the NFL over the past two seasons, based on PFF ratings. These ratings are a step-by-step recording of each shot in the lighting before they are scaled from 0 to 100. Howard sacrificed a little with his lighting for these performances, but he also more than made up for it. Passes aimed at him while he has been in the spotlight for the last two seasons have produced a low passer rating of 42.2, less than half the average of all passers in the league.”
With questions about Miami’s defense in their first year without Brian Flores, Howard has the opportunity to silence the doubters as the season kicks off.
Dolphin Season Prediction 2022 Weeks 1 to 18