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NFL Draft 2017: Could O.J. Howard fall to the Buccaneers?

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl-South Practice Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

O.J. Howard is currently dominating the Senior Bowl practices, and he’s repeatedly getting linked to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Howard has size, speed, hands, route-running skills and can even block a little. He’s almost everything you want in a top tight end, and a player who has almost everything won’t fall to number 19, which is where the Bucs pick.

Everything, that is, except for one thing: production. Howard topped out at 602 receiving yards as a junior, which is not overly impressive. O.J. Howard looks like a potentially dominant receiving tight end. He didn’t get a ton of opportunities at Alabama, in part because that’s simply how Alabama always plays, but when they needed him he was there: in two national championship games he put up a whopping nine catches, 314 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

That’s an indication that he could do a lot better, but we don’t yet know how general managers will view his lack of production. If they think it’s just because of scheme and quarterback play, Howard will likely be a top ten pick. If they think the lack of production is also on him, then he could fall to the Bucs — and the Bucs may not want him there, either.

Howard would look great in pewter and red, though. The Bucs could use an explosive receiving tight end — they have a reliable one in Cameron Brate, but he can’t really threaten the deep middle of the field. Howard could, and he could be the kind of athletic tight end that adds a whole new dimension to this offense.