2017 NFL Draft Grades: Buccaneers get a B+ for selecting O.J. Howard No. 19
Howard is a capable blocker and has Jimmy Graham potential as a receiver
- Draft Tracker: Round 1
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Pete Prisco's Grade: B+
"They could have used defensive help, but they took a player who might be the cleanest in this draft."
Jameis Winston has to be happy, because the best tight end in the draft just fell to the Buccaneers. Howard boasts the speed and size (6-foot-6, 251 pounds) to be a dominant tight end as a receiver and blocker. In his four-year career at Alabama, he averaged 15.1 yards per catch and caught seven touchdowns. Teams covet potential game-changing tight ends like Rob Gronkowski. Howard likely isn't the next Gronk, but he'll be a mismatch for slower linebackers and smaller defensive backs. That holds tremendous valuable in the pass-happy NFL. Of note: Howard is joining an offense that already features Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. Tight end Cameron Brate was also productive last year. The Buccaneers' offense is loaded.
"Jameis Winston is a happy camper right now with the addition of O.J. Howard, who joins a loaded receiving corps with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and Cameron Brate. Howard is a No. 2 Fantasy tight end in seasonal leagues, but he could make an impact like Hunter Henry. In rookie-only leagues, Howard is a first-round pick." -- Jamey Eisenberg
Jimmy Graham/Julius Thomas: He's been compared to both Graham (by Rob Rang) and Thomas (by NFL.com). For the Buccaneers' sake, hopefully he looks more like the Broncos' version of Julius Thomas than the Jaguars' version of Julius Thomas.
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