04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Seahawks' picks: Round 4/114 - Jaye Howard, DT, 6-3, 301, Florida...Howard played under former Seahawks defensive line coach Dan Quinn at Florida, where he serves as the Gators defensive coordinator. That should help in his transition to Seattle. - The Sports Xchange
Howard was a top 50 defensive end recruit out of high school, choosing Florida over Florida State, Auburn and Rutgers.
After redshirting in 2007, he saw time as a backup on the defensive line in 2008 as a redshirt freshman, recording eight tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Howard saw more playing time in 2009 as a sophomore (four starts), finishing with 29 tackles, 3.0 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
He became a full-time starter in 2010 as a junior with eight starts, recording 29 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Howard had his most productive season in 2011 as a senior (13 starts), finishing with 65 tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries (one returned for a score).
Howard was a defensive end/linebacker in high school and has done a nice job adding 60-plus pounds since enrolling in Gainesville as a 230-pounder, but not all of that is good weight despite looking in better shape in 2011. He is a fluid and flexible athlete for the position with the natural explosion to shoot gaps and gain a step on blockers, but he doesn?t always play at full intensity and has poor snap anticipation.
Howard doesn?t have the ideal frame or strength to be a regular contributor in the NFL, but his athleticism and foot quickness will earn him a shot ? a late round player who flashes, but is mostly an inconsistent performer and doesn?t play up to his ability.
Strengths: Carries his weight well for his size and looks to be in much improved shape. Quick-footed with nimble agility and range to work up and down the line of scrimmage. Good get-off burst and quickness with natural explosion. Looks fluid when moving laterally and is a flexible and natural bender. Gets to plays in a hurry with smooth pursuit and penetration skills. Has very good awareness and uses his eyes well with field sense. Does a nice job getting his hands up at the line to knock down passes. Has a versatile skill-set with experience lining up at several different defensive line spots over his career.
Weaknesses: Possesses a narrow frame and lacks an ideal frame to add much more girth or bulk. Has underwhelming strength for the position and lacks raw power ... too easily controlled by single blockers. Doesn't always finish and too easily gets locked up, struggling to shed. Has streaky snap anticipation and needs to develop better reaction skills. Recorded too many facemask and offsides penalties, struggling with poor discipline ... easily jumps off hard counts. Lacks a wide array of pass rush moves and needs to finish after he gets his hands on ballcarriers. Was part of a defensive line rotation most of his career and was out-played by underclassmen the past few years. Battled a right ankle injury in 2010 and needs to stay conditioned.
NFL Comparison: Jarron Gilbert, Buffalo Bills
-- Dane Brugler