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Ron Rivera Reacts To Sam Howell's NFL Draft Slide

Washington Football Team head coach looks on during a game.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 05: Head coach Ron Rivera of the Washington Football Team looks on during warmups before a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Washington Football Team defeated the Raiders 17-15. (Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images)

Much to the surprise of fans and analysts everywhere, North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell slid deep into this year's NFL draft.

Originally expected to come off the board as a second or even late-first-round draft pick, Howell ended up going to the Washington Commanders with the first pick of the fifth round (No. 144).

The Commanders are committed to Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback to start the 2022 season, but Ron Rivera and his staff couldn't pass up on the opportunity to snag a QB talent of Howell's caliber.

Rivera sees this pick as a "home run" for the organization.

"We didn't think he would slide to us," Rivera said on Saturday, per Washington insider Nicki Jhabvala. "... Once we got Carson [Wentz] as our starter, we got off the QB train for the most part. ... To have Sam fall to us was something we had to jump on. ... We feel this is a home run for us."

Entering his rookie season, Howell will likely compete for the backup job with incumbent starter Taylor Heinicke. Howell shattered program records during his three seasons with the Tar Heels, logging 10,283 yards and 92 touchdowns through the air, and 1,009 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. "God is so faithful. So excited for this next chapter. Let’s go to work!" Howell wrote on Twitter.

It'll certainly be interesting to see how the Commanders' quarterback situation pans out this coming season.