Pro Football Focus named OJ Howard the worst first-round pick in last year’s draft (As mentioned in Kyle Riddle’s article Pro Football Focus Names OJ Howard Worst First Round Draft Pick). As a Buccaneers fan, you may be asking yourself, “What is wrong with them? Maybe they did not watch him play?” Granted, he did not put up monster numbers – 26 catches for 432 yards, and six scores. That is not surprising for a rookie Tight End. Antonio Gates had 24 catches for 389 yards, and two touchdowns in his Rookie campaign. Tony Gonzalez had 33 receptions for 368 yards and two scores. Jimmy Graham had 31 catches for 365 yards and 5 scores. Just to name a few great Tight Ends, the list goes on and on. To put it in a nutshell, Howards’ first year in the league was nothing short of impressive, and he put up those numbers without playing the full season (he sat out the final two games with an injury). His blocking needs improvement, but that is not uncommon for a Rookie, either.
Rating the former Alabama product the worst first round pick is just absurd. His performance and the way he connected better and better with Winston leave hope for the future. Do not be surprised if Howard doubles the numbers he produced this season next year. The 6’6” Tight End provides a great red zone target for Winston, who should look for Howard more and more as they have now played together for a whole year.
Edited by: Morgan Adele