Jordan Howden is hoping to hear his name drafted and follow in the illustrious footsteps of Antoine Winfield Jr and have a successful NFL career after playing safety for Minnesota.
Howden came to the Gopher program as a preferred walk-on in 2018 where he quickly made an impact and in the offseason was awarded a scholarship. He is originally from Las Vegas where he led his high school team to a state championship and participated in Nevada’s state track meet.
He managed to start 5 games as a true freshman and was then the team’s starter at free safety for the next 4 seasons. Unquestionably a leader on the Gopher defense who made some huge plays throughout his career.
Jordan Howden and Minnesota slammed the door in Penn State’s face with this INT!— The Sporting News (@sportingnews) November 9, 2019
Final: 31-26, Gophers pic.twitter.com/ArOzUnw3qF
For his Gopher career, he made 49 starts, recorded 240 tackles, had 20 pass breakups and 4 interceptions.
40 yd dash: 4.49 (5th fastest among safeties at the combine)
Bench press: 14 reps
The strengths you are going to get from Howden are that he is a very intelligent football player who is very good at supporting the run game.
“Howden is a football-savvy free safety with good instincts and play recognition but a lack of acceleration, which could create a plethora of problems for him on the pro level. He’s quick to diagnose the run, but will need to improve his tackle technique. A lack of recovery juice could get him mismatched on the pro game, but he sees route combinations well when allowed to play as a two-deep safety. Howden has played a lot of football and can help on special teams but needs to prove himself as a tester at the NFL Scouting Combine.”
Clearly, when you get into the later rounds of the NFL Draft you are taking players who either lack the requisite athleticism but have the savvy to succeed, or vice versa. Howden is going to be a draft pick who will pick things up quickly, the question is if he’ll be able to keep up with the speed and physicality at the next level.
Most likely Howden is going to have to earn his roster spot by standing out on special teams. He would then slot in as a backup safety who when pressed into playing will make minimal mental mistakes.
Of course, there are guys who figure out how to be more than that and succeed as later-round draft picks. Howden has the makeup to be one of those guys.
Certainly going to be a Day 3 pick who could go anywhere in the 5th through 7th round. I’d be a little surprised if he ends up being an undrafted free agent, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.