Alabama's O.J. Howard taken by Buccaneers in 2017 NFL Draft - Roto Street Journal
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Alabama’s O.J. Howard taken by Buccaneers in 2017 NFL Draft

As expected, tight end O.J. Howard was the first of his position taken in the 2017 NFL Draft, when he fell all the way to pick No. 19 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Howard possesses elite NFL traits that have made him such a high draft pick and potential NFL All-Pro for years to come. While his college stats won’t jump off the page at you, his athleticism and raw skill will. You might remember him in the National Championship game against Clemson where he caught four balls for 106 yards and a touchdown, which included a 68-yard touchdown.

Is this a good fantasy football fit?

The Buccaneers didn’t necessarily need O.J. Howard, but they couldn’t pass up this elite talent that fell into their laps. Howard is the most complete tight end in the class, as he can do it all. The former Crimson Tide tight end will give Jameis  Winston another huge target in the red zone and take advantage of safeties playing over the top on DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans. Winston and this offense will explode in 2017. Buy. Buy. Buy. (Sell Cameron Brate).

Howard’s Combine Analysis

Howard had a stellar combine that graded him out as a 6.51 (Pro Bowl caliber player). He was a top performer at his position in five drills being the 40-yard dash, bench press, 3 cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle. He’s shown his speed and athleticism for a position that can be lethal in the NFL. Tight ends can be the ultimate weapon in an offense, which is why so many teams coveted a prospect like Howard to use in their system. Howard’s 40 time of 4.51 was second overall at his position only behind Ole Miss’ Evan Engram, who is a prototypical pass-catching (Y) tight end.

How good was Howard in college?

Howard was vastly underutilized in his time at Alabama. Instead of catching tons of passes, Howard was more often asked to block for the elite stable of running backs that have come through the Crimson Tide offense. When you are surrounded in an offense by the likes of Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon, Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake and Bo Scarborough, the touches are going to be hard to come by. When those chances did come, Howard made the most of his opportunity. He increased his reception totals every year and averaged 15.88 yards per catch over his four year career. Despite his limited action, you could see the skill and talent displayed by Howard when utilized. He has all the necessary tools to become a stud fantasy tight end for years to come.

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