Howard is a native of the Fifth Ward area of Houston. Howard attended Wheatley High School in Houston, Texas. He played cornerback and quarterback on the football team. He committed to Baylor University to play college football

Howard played at Baylor from 2012 to 2015. During his career, he had 98 tackles, 10 interceptions 1.5 sacks, and one touchdown. After his junior year, he declared for the 2016 NFL Draft.

Howard was one of 59 collegiate defensive backs to attend the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana.He completed all of the combine drills and finished tied for 12th among defensive backs in the short shuttle.  At the conclusion of the pre-draft process, Howard was projected to be a second or third round pick by NFL draft experts and scouts. He was ranked the eighth best cornerback prospect in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com, was ranked the ninth best cornerback by NFL analysts Mike Mayock and Gil Brandt, and was ranked the 15th best defensive back in the draft by Sports Illustrated.


The Miami Dolphins selected Howard in the second round (38th overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft. In order to draft Howard, the Miami Dolphins traded their second round pick (42nd overall) and fourth round pick (107th overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for their second round pick (38th overall).  He was the sixth cornerback selected in 2016.