When the Jets signed undrafted free agents, the name Julian Howsare caught my eye. You don't see many players from Division II Clarion University. Howsare had an eye-popping 53.5 tackles for a loss in his college career. Let's take a closer look.
In his own words:
What do you feel makes you so underrated or overlooked as an pro prospect?
A: I feel coming from a small school creates a challenge for me and makes me an underrated prospect. I am willing to do whatever it takes to show I can not only compete at the next level but make an impact as well.
James: What are the strengths of your game?
Julian: My strengths in my game would definitely have to be my speed and pass rush ability. I have an explosive first step and great speed off the edge that allows me to get to the quarterback and create a lot of pressure throughout the game. I also am very good at setting the opposing offensive linemen up with different moves throughout the game that always keeps them guessing. Another strength of mine would be my motor on the field. I am constantly giving it my all on the field and doing everything I can to help my team succeed.
When you are breaking down film, what do you look for?
I tend to look for my opponents strengths and weaknesses. I like to see what they are good at and where they struggle. This allows me to game plan and work on all week what I think will work best against them.
Howsare attended the Villanova Pro Day.
What I like about him:
I think Howsare has really good instincts. Most of the time he seems in position and avoids being overly aggressive. He reads the ball carrier and blocking schemes well and has a feel for gaps in the blocking to slip through and get to the ball carrier. He was a prolific pass rusher, and he showed a few different moves. He had a speed rush. He had a nice spin move, and he showed a developing swim move. He also lined up as a stand up edge rusher, with his hand on the ground, and in more of an inside linebacker spot. His ability to get to the ball carrier and his motor make me wonder whether he might be a fit transitioning to inside linebacker.
What concerns me:
Simply put, he looked like a man among boys at Clarion. He dominated in no small part because he was the most athletic player on the field. That will change in the NFL. He won't just be up against equal athletes. His measurables were anywhere from average to below average, including physically. His arms aren't long. I also didn't love it when he dropped into coverage. I didn't think he looked comfortable in zone, and he didn't read the quarterback's eyes.
I'm interested to see what he can do. His instincts make me feel like he has a shot to make the team as a special teamer. He also blocked a number of kicks in college. That might be an asset, but I wonder whether that might be a result of him being physically dominant over the competition, something that might not translate. I think he'll be competing at either inside or outside linebacker for a roster spot. Inside linebacker might be an easier place to stick.
Watch some video for yourself. Be warned this is unfortunately not abridged.