O.J. Howard is the best tight end in the 2017 NFL Draft class. The question, then, is not about the Alabama product'sranking, but rather how high he'll be drafted April 27. Many think he'll be selectedin the top 10.
Howard at the NFL Combine ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at 6-6, 251 pounds. In four seasons at Alabama, Howard recorded 114 catches for 1,726 yards. Here is Howard's 2017 NFL Draft scouting report, provided byOptimum Scouting's 2017 NFL Draft Guide.
O.J. Howard NFL Combine results
40-yard dash: 4.51
Bench press: 22
Broad jump: 121.0
3-cone drill: 6.85
20-yard shuttle: 4.16
60-yard shuttle: 11.46
MORE: NFL Mock Draft 2017
NFL Draft picks 2017: O.J. Howard
Howard's unusually high ranking for a tight end coming out of high school was, for the most part, accurate. Howard at Alabama played in every season for which he was eligible, and he caught114 passes for 1,726 yards (15 yards per catch) but only seven touchdowns.
Athletically, Howard checks all the boxes as a gifted athlete. He showed off that athleticism when he playedthe trifecta of sports at Autauga Academy in Prattville, Ala.
Early in his career Crimson Tide career, Howard was viewed as a bust whostruggled to be the offensive focal pointcoaches and fans were expecting. Hehadsome growing pains,but theyturned himintothe near-unanimous top tight end prospect in the 2017 draft class.
Though Howardoozes with potential and has the skills to be coached to anAll-Prolevel, criticisms of him are fair.
Some question Howard'sdetermination to be the best football player possible. His under-utilization in college mightnot be just because ofschemes — his lack of overall grasp of the game might have been acause, too.
Demeanor is one thing evaluators can legitimately question, but Howard'soverall talent is not. He has elite, naturalathletic traits. Heremainsraw in some receiving areas, but that's acoachable flaw.
If drafted into the right situation, Howard should be a production freak within his first two orthree seasons in the NFL.
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This NFL Draft scouting report is included in Optimum Scouting’s 2017 NFL Draft Guide, which is available for purchase here. The draft guide includes 300-plus scouting reports as well as position-specific analytics for prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.
(Report by Christian Page)