The Chargers drafted a pair of defensive linemen with their first and last picks of the draft. They continued to add to the potential depth at the position by signing another several linemen in Eurndraus Bryant from NCST and Reggie Howard from the University of Toledo.
We already went over Bryant and what he could add to this defense so now we flip the coin and take a closer look at Howard who will likely play a 3-technique with the Chargers as opposed to Bryant playing the nose guard.
At 6-foot-3 and 280 pounds, Howard is on the lighter side of interior defenders but that didn’t stop him from being the top run defender among interior defenders in the MAC, according to Pro Football Focus.
Reggie Howard – Toledo Interior Defender— PFF LA Chargers (@PFF_Chargers) April 30, 2019
6'3" 280 lbs.
▪️88.3 Run-Defense Grade (1st among MAC DIs)
▪️Earned a Run Stop on 9.4% of plays (1st)
▪️7 Sacks in 2018 (1st) pic.twitter.com/V2UOfG4KFa
His 9.4% run-stop percentage and seven sacks were also tops in the conference which, in short, means he’s probably pretty #good.
Howard played his first two seasons at the JUCO level (60 total tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles) before transferring to Toledo in January of 2017. He played a key-reserve role for the team that season, totaling 18 stops and five tackles-for-loss.
In 2018, his first and only as a starter, Howard was the most impactful defender along the line as he posted 50 tackles, a team-leading 15 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, and another pair of forced fumbles.
When I slapped on the film, there were a handful positives that stood out with Howard from the jump. Number one being his strength at the point of attack. His best game came against the Miami Hurricanes when he had a career-high eight tackles. He was consistently the aggressor along the line of scrimmage, bench-pressing linemen with ease and being able to shed blocks often.
He also possesses the necessary quickness off the snap that is coveted in a penetrating 3-tech. He showed active hands, continuously using a double-hand swipe to keep himself free of contact as he side-stepped opposing guards to get into the backfield.
Combine all of the above with a motor running on premium gas and you’ve got yourself an interior defender that any team could work with. The Chargers have been able to get the most out of smaller interior defenders over the years in guys like Damion Square so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them do the same with Howard.
With the interior still being fairly open at this point besides Mebane, Jones, and Tillery, Howard has every chance to show some versatility and prove he can be a contributor at a position that needs more impactful players going forward.