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Fact or Fiction: Sam Howell is still an NFL first-round pick

In today’s Fact or Fiction national columnist Mike Farrell looks at three big recent topics in college football and decides whether each statement is indeed FACT or if it’s FICTION.

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1. Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the best wide receiver on the Ohio State roster.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Jaxon Smith-Njigba (USA Today Sports Images)

Farrell's Take: FACT. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are great and both had more touchdowns than Jaxon Smith-Njigba this season, but he had more catches and yards. Following Smith-Njigba's performance in the Rose Bowl with both Olave and Wilson out, it’s clear to me that Smith-Njigba is the best receiver on the Buckeyes.

He’s simply uncoverable as everyone in country could see he was going to be targeted almost every play and Utah still had no chance to stop him. With 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine scores this year, he could be a Heisman candidate next season with C.J. Stroud back.



2. Ohio State will be the favorite to win it all next season.

C.J. Stroud
C.J. Stroud (USA Today Sports Images)

Farrell's Take: FICTION. It’s tempting, admit it. With Stroud, Smith-Njigba, TreVeyon Henderson, Marvin Harrison Jr. and others back next year it looks like the Ohio State offense will be unstoppable. But let’s all remember one thing: Alabama is still Alabama and Bryce Young is returning in 2022.

There is little doubt that the Crimson Tide will be the team to beat heading into next season regardless of the outcome of the national title game. But the Buckeyes will clearly be the favorite to make the playoff out of the Big Ten, make no mistake about that.


3. Sam Howell is still a first-rounder.

Sam Howell
Sam Howell (USA Today Sports Images)

Farrell's Take: FICTION. It’s not likely to happen anymore. One could overlook Sam Howell's lack of height or perhaps a few of the routes he had difficulty throwing before this season but after a very average year his stock has fallen to the point where he is unlikely to be selected in the first round.

Howell completed only 62.5 percent of his passes this season and threw nine interceptions as he regressed a bit from his first two seasons. He showed he can run the ball more but that’s not what the NFL is looking for from him. Howell could still slide in at the end of the first round if things break the right way, but it’s doubtful.