TE O.J. Howard, Alabama

6’6” – 251 lbs. – 4.51

Didn’t become a full-time starter until his junior year, but started a handful of games prior to that for the Tide. The total package from a physical standpoint; has excellent height and length (33.75” arms) with adequate bulk and big hands which measured ten inches at the Combine. Could probably handle more weight on his frame and may be asked to do that depending on which team drafts him. Was used in a lot of different capacities at Alabama; on the line, as an H-Back, from the slot, and split out wide, in roughly that order of frequency. As a pro, could project as either an inline or flex tight end; may be a little bit better in the latter capacity but doesn’t have to be pigeonholed. Was underutilized in the receiving game at Alabama but is a big target whose physical attributes make him an easy, reliable target for quarterbacks to hit. Catches the ball away from his frame. Wins against both man and zone coverages. Runs a lot of shorter routes (outs, patterns into the flats, swings from motion, etc.), where he’s able to use his speed to separate and pick up yards after the catch. However, is also fast enough to exploit defenses down the seam. Able to build up speed down the sidelines and work the stiff arm into his game with the ball in his hands; more of a threat because of his speed than because of his power. Competitive blocker whose size and length give him a lot of potential; works to secure blocks at the second level and sustain through the whistle. Was asked to go in motion and crack defenders pursuing from the backside or reach defensive backs from the slot. Capable of walling off defensive ends as a blocker on the edge, although he doesn’t always play with the power to drive opponents off of their spots. Does a good job of keeping his hands inside but balance and anchor are inconsistent. More capable as a blocker than he is nasty. A little bit of a projection because he wasn’t really integrated into Alabama’s passing game as much as he should have and because he may need to develop his functional strength a bit further in order to reach his potential as a blocker, but is probably the most gifted passing-game target in this year’s draft class, offering the physical and athletic skills to present opponents with a matchup nightmare. Teams reportedly have some concerns about his passion which may affect his draft stock; should go anywhere within the top ten or twelve picks.

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