The Buccaneers did something in the 2017 NFL draft they hadn’t done in franchise history, draft a tight end in the first round of an NFL draft. With the 19th pick in the first round, Tampa Bay selected Alabama TE O.J. Howard. What the Buccaneers saw in the 6’6, 255 pound Howard is fairly obvious.
For starters, Howard has lightning fast speed for his size, so much so that our leader, famous Jameis was quoted as saying that he thinks Howard is the most athletic player at his size he’s ever seen. Also because of his size, he’s an unbelievable blocker on running plays and has exceptional hands for catching passes, especially in the red zone. Unlike Alabama, which isn’t known for using the tight end often, the Buccaneers love to use the two tight end set. With Howard and Cameron Brate, the Buccaneers will be fielding a scary one-two punch, think Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. He and Brate will be headaches for opposing defenses. Linebackers will be left in the dust, and secondary players won’t be able to out leap them for jump balls. Remember how lethal the Patriots two tight end sets were from 2011-2013, especially in the red zone, that could be in store for the Buccaneers this upcoming season.
I genuinely feel Tampa Bay hit a home run in the first round of the 2017 draft. O.J. Howard has all the potential to be the best tight end in the NFL, so much so that NFL media host Colleen Wolfe was asked who she believed would make the HOF from this year’s draft. Her answer was a decisive O.J. Howard!
It may be early to anoint Howard as an all time great, not to mention he and Brate have a long way to go before being seen as the next Gronk/Hernandez, but if he lives up to his gifted abilities, with our unquestioned leader throwing him the rock, the sky may truly be the limit for O.J.
Edited by: Harmeet Kapur