Hearing all the media outlets and fans get so excited over the selection of OJ Howard is great but to me the expectations are a little high right now. The real expectations should be about Cam Brate but thats for another argument. The main point is where does OJ contribute right now?
OJ has all the measurables (6’6 251) and athleticism (4.51 40, 6.85 3cone, 22 bench reps) that you can ask for in a tight end and its obvious to see why he will get such high expectations but in reality he is still a rookie that will have to learn the NFL game. At Alabama he was used mainly for one thing and that is run blocking. He was never a focal point in the passing game even though he should have been and just because he showed up in the last 2 Championship games that doesn’t negate the whole 4 years he played.
Alabama is known more for their defense and over powering run game evidence by the long line of highly drafted RBs coming out of there (Ingram, Richardson, Lacy, Yeldon, Henry). The focal point of that offense is being aggressive at the line and winning with size and strength. That is exactly what OJ Howard is! He will bring that huge piece that was missing from the bucs running game last year which was a TE that could block and block well. Brate has his gifts and areas where he excels in but blocking just wasn’t it last year. Howard did well against all of the SEC which included 1st overall pick Myles Garret and 14th overall pick Derek Barnett. This is where to me OJ will contribute the most first and this is a big improvement.
Here is a play where he showed his blocking ability in practice:
— RealBucsTalk (@RealBucsTalk) July 30, 2017
Will he be a huge weapon and big mismatch, YES, but I’m tempering my expectations and will allow him to learn the playbook and excel first at where he is best which is run blocking. I can see him doing well in play action calls and times where he chip blocks then splits out but I don’t see him being a focal point to the offense yet, especially not the way media outlets are making him out to be.
Either way he’s a video of what he can bring. You can see this and more in the videos section of the site.