Draft

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Tight End O.J. Howard

Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) makes a touchdown catch against Clemson Tigers safety Van Smith (23) during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) makes a touchdown catch against Clemson Tigers safety Van Smith (23) during the third quarter in the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Check out the 2017 NFL Draft profile for one incredible tight end in O.J. Howard out of Alabama.

O.J. Howard was one of the top tight ends in the country coming out of high school in 2013, in Alabama, and now he’s one of the top tight ends in the 2017 NFL Draft. Of course, Nick Saban had to do his best to keep him in the state of Alabama, and in his first two seasons, Howard was a solid tight end.  He averaged 19.2 yards per reception and had two touchdowns.  He only had 17 catches as a junior, but six of them went for more than 15 yards.

Howard’s breakout season came in 2015, when he had 602 yards and two touchdowns.  His biggest game came in the biggest game that season.  Going into the College Football Playoff National Championship game Howard had 33 catches for an average of 11.9 yards per reception.  In the Championship game, though, he had five catches, 208 yards and his only two touchdowns of the season, which earned him the game’s Offensive MVP award.

In his final season, he had 595 yards and 3 touchdowns.  That earned him third team All-America and second team All-SEC honors.

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STRENGTHS

His size and athleticism are amazing.  He has 33 7/8” arms and 10” hands, and that only helps his draft stock at that position.

Howard has wide receiver football skills and speed, and the way he creates separation opens windows for quarterbacks.  Linebackers won’t be able to cover him.

The performance against Clemson in the National Championship Game showed his true potential.  In that game, he showed his playmaking ability.

WEAKNESSES

Howard isn’t built like a pro tight end at the moment, and he will need to add muscle at the next level.  He doesn’t seem to have the same passion and attitude as other players from the Crimson Tide program.

He needs to do a better job at getting defenders to lean in one direction to get open.  His playing time was gut in his senior season. Lane Kiffin’s scheme was the reason for some of his catches.  His competitiveness is questioned.

VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS

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DRAFT DAY PREDICTION

He’s a first round talent, but the questions about his desire to play football raise some eyebrows. In addition, he had a lot of hype coming out of high school, and he failed to reach that hype.  However, some question the scheme and not his ability.

Howard has athleticism, and his talent is raw.  However, it can be cultivated into All-Pro skills, if he wants to play.  He will be drafted in the first round or early on Day 2, if he interviews well at the 2017 NFL Combine.

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