TE OJ Howard, 6’6 251 Alabama
What He Does Well
Multifaceted weapon who can be used out of the slot, inline or in the backfield. Ideal size and frame to be an inline blocker. An elite athlete for the position whose Combine athletic testing would be good for a wide receiver and is displayed on film. Hands catcher that can adjust to off target throws and make catchings outside of his frame. Uses speed to run away from linebackers and safeties. Can use his size to box out defenders putting them on his back hip. Talented blocker who uses his hands well to seal off defenders. Can be used as a lead blocker opening lanes for the ball carrier.
— Brian Johannes (@Draft_Brian) March 19, 2017
Where He Needs Work
Was never used as a primary weapon in college. Lacks great production with only 1,726 career yards and 7 touchdowns. Will let the ball get to his body a little too often. Still a raw route runner who doesn’t always sink his hips and explode out of cuts rather rounding them off. A talented blocker he lacks the power to drive defenders and has to seal or wall off edge defenders.
Largely due to being on a loaded team and never being the focal point of Alabama’s offense, OJ Howard’s stats are underwhelming. But when you watch him play it is obvious he is one the best tight end prospect in the past ten years and since Greg Olsen. Howard was largely used as a blocker and a short area target and was often hampered by average quarterback play the past two years. But when given the opportunity Howard showed he can take over a game like he did against Clemson in the 2016 National Championship Game with 208 yard receiving and 2 touchdowns. What Howard wasn’t able to show in college he has displayed in the predraft process tearing up the Senior Bowl and dominating on the field during the Combine. Howard uses elite speed to get out into his routes posing a match up nightmare for safeties and linebackers while using his 6’6 250lb frame to box out cornerbacks. When you add in Howard’s ability to block inline and in space he’s an offensive coordinator’s dream. A lock to go in the first round, Howard will likely be off the board in the teens but don’t be surprised to see him drafted in the top 10.
NFL Comparison: Greg Olsen