Former Ohio State star Travis Howard agreed to a contract with the New England Patriots to join their practice squad, as reported earlier today by Mike Reiss. The Patriots saw their best cornerback Aqib Talib leave their game against Saints with a hip injury. Talib had injured the hip last season as well and was forced to miss the AFC Championship Game against the Ravens. The Patriots also lost Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo for the season, so they were on the market for any defensive bodies.
Howard was one of the best corners in the country last season. His four interceptions were best in the Big Ten and tied for 31st in the country. He also earned All-Big Ten First Team honors and, combined with Bradley Roby, formed an unstoppable secondary which was crucial in the Buckeye’s undefeated season.
The main knocks on Howard coming out of college were his physical attributes, his speed and size. Scouts and teams feared that his 4.6 40-time would not be fast enough to stay with the faster receivers that play on Sundays, while the much taller and bigger ones could easily push his lanky frame out of the way. But the 6’1, 200 pound corner earned his recognition in Columbus for his ball skills and tenacity. A very strong corner in the run game, Howard certainly isn’t afraid to lay out the big hits. After getting passed up by teams for simple numbers, Howard will finally get the chance on the field to prove to the Patriots why he deserves to play on Sundays.