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NFL draft: Howell’s anxious moment

Hart High graduate and former Stanford safety Howell is right on the edge of being select

Posted: April 26, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 26, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Stanford defensive back Delano Howell runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

 

Hart High graduate Delano Howell is in an uncertain situation right now.

Today marks the first day of the three-day NFL Draft and the Stanford senior safety doesn’t know what to expect.

“I feel very impatient,” Howell said. “I’m anxious for the day. I’d like to say I’m waiting (patiently), but I’m very excited at the same time.”

Howell appears to be the only local high school graduate who could be selected in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Eligible also are Canyon High graduates and seniors running back J.J. DiLuigi from BYU and Air Force offensive lineman A.J. Wallerstein.

DiLuigi doesn’t appear on top mock drafts, but has expressed a desire to play in the NFL.

He worked out for NFL scouts at BYU’s Pro Day in late March and reportedly prepared for it by working with an Olympic speed coach.

If he doesn’t get drafted, he could sign on with an NFL team and earn a shot through training camp in the summer.

Wallerstein has decided against pursuing a career in the NFL and will instead be going to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to work as a physicist.

Wallerstein is ranked as the 96th best offensive guard available in the draft by ESPN.

College of the Canyons head coach Garett Tujague said he has four former players who have the possibility of being drafted or picked up as a free agent — Colorado fullback Evan Harrington, Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera, Bowling Green defensive back Jovan Leacock and Texas Southern defensive tackle Jonathan Hollins.

Hollins is the 84th-ranked draft-eligible defensive tackle by ESPN.

Meanwhile, Howell said he hears a lot of speculation, but doesn’t know where he could land.

There are many who are projecting him as a late-round pick or a potential free-agent signee.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock gave Howell the 41st-highest grade among draft-eligible safeties.

ESPN has him ranked 26th among safeties.

Howell was a star running back at Hart High, but in college he became an All-Pac 12 safety who finished his career with 190 tackles and seven interceptions in 34 career games.

Howell missed three games in his senior season due to a hand injury, but battled through to be an impact player for the Stanford defense.

“Injuries aren’t something you can control,” Howell said. “The only thing you can control is attitude. I didn’t play with fear. I take pride in playing through pain and playing at a high level with pain.”

Howell’s big brother was in a similar situation with draft uncertainty in 2008.

Dan Howell had a stellar career at the University of Washington and was not drafted in 2008. Yet he was signed as a free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals and was on the team’s practice squad. He was cut the same year.

Howell said big brother told him to make sure he gets his degree so he has a backup plan.

The Stanford senior is on pace to graduate this June with a degree in science, technology, and society.

If Howell doesn’t get drafted, he’ll still have a major connection to the draft, having played the last four years with projected No. 1 pick Andrew Luck.

Luck spoke highly about Howell to The Signal in August saying, “He’s fearless. We’ll have long conversations where he’ll come up to me and start talking about how he would tackle me, and how he would hit me. He’s one of those guys that loves to tackle, loves to hit. I think that’s awesome. Football needs those types of guys. And he does it the right way.”

Howell returned the favor about Luck.

“What I’m most impressed about through everything is he stays very humble,” Howell said. “You’d never know he’s going to be the No. 1 draft pick. He puts people first before him.”

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