Round 4 – No. 114
Jaye Howard, DT
Height: 6’3″ – Weight: 301 lbs.
Age: 23 – Class: Senior
Though he improved his value from a year ago, Florida Gators defensive tackle Jaye Howard was unable to crack the first two days of the 2012 NFL Draft. He was selected Saturday with 114th overall pick in the fourth round by the Seattle Seahawks.
The 12th player at his position chosen in the draft, Howard is the first defensive tackle to be drafted out of Florida since 2007 when Marcus Thomas was picked by Denver with the No. 121 overall pick in the fourth round.
Howard has the size (6’3” 301 lbs.) and potential to one day be a NFL starter, but he will begin his tenure with Seattle fighting for playing time in a reserve role. Scouts and analysts believe he needs to improve his overall production to go along with his increased levels of consistency and work ethic in his final season with the Gators.
He is the ninth former Gators player to be drafted by the Seahawks in franchise history and is the first to join the team through the draft since wide receiver Darrell Jackson was picked with the 80th overall pick in 2000.
Seattle’s website notes that “the Seahawks envision him supplying some pass rush from the three-technique tackle spot” and adds that former defensive line coach Dan Quinn – now Florida’s defensive coordinator – “helped the team in its evaluation of Howard.”
“[Playing for Quinn] helped me a lot,” Howard said after being selected. “He got my technique right. He stayed on me this year. I appreciate him coming in and just getting me to where I needed to be. So it helps me a lot going into [the Seahawks system]. I’m sort of familiar with it. So it helps.”
He actually learned that he was drafted while charging his iPhone in an Apple Store. Howard received a call from a number with a 425 area code, one he recognized from speaking to Quinn on the phone a year ago. “I knew right then where I was going,” he told The Seattle Times.
UF has had at least one player selected in every NFL Draft dating back to 1951.