NFL coordinator and AFC executive praise Xavien Howard’s ability to consistently make plays on the ball

Xavien Howard Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins star cornerback Xavien Howard is one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and those around the league continue to praise his abilities.

In a story by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, a NFL coordinator and high-ranking AFC executive both sung Howard’s praises when talking about his ball skills and ability at the cornerback position.

“Lockdown man-to-man player but high football IQ,” the coordinator said of Howard. “When you play as much man as the Dolphins play, you shouldn’t or wouldn’t expect to have all of the ball production he does.”

During the 2021 season, Howard picked off five passes in 16 games and made the Pro Bowl. He also recorded 50 combined tackles, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

“I’ve seen him make too many plays on the ball over too many years not to have him high,” the high-ranking AFC executive said.

Howard’s best season came in the 2020 campaign, as he picked off a league-high 10 passes and led the NFL in passes defended with 20. He finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting that season.

“His pre-snap awareness of the offense, how the wide receiver stems and overall awareness of alignments tell him when to take his shots,” the coordinator said.

Howard also led the league in interceptions in the 2018 season when he picked off seven passes in just 12 games.

He is the clear anchor of the Dolphins secondary, and he’s been one of the best cornerbacks in the league for several seasons. In 72 career games, Howard has 27 interceptions and 71 passes defended.

The Dolphins have continued to build their secondary around Howard, and they are hoping he can help lead their defense to a solid season and the playoffs in the 2022 campaign. Miami hasn’t made it to the postseason since the 2016 season.