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NFL Draft Grades 2017: Everyone loves the Buccaneers and O.J. Howard

Analysts and fans love the Bucs snapping up O.J. Howard.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the steal of the draft, if we can believe most analysts. Tight end O.J. Howard was supposed to be a top ten pick, perhaps even a top five selection, but instead he fell all the way to number nineteen for no discernable reason.

The Bucs couldn’t believe their luck, and ran to the podium to turn in that pick. Howard’s a terrific talent who also fits a need. If the Bucs could give themselves a grade for that pick, I’d think it’d be pretty high—and most people seem to agree.

86% of Bucs fans gave this pick an A in our poll, which collected 2,431 votes. I suspect a significant amount of lower grades have to do with who the Bucs didn’t pick: fan-favorite Dalvin Cook, who’s still available in the second round for some reason.

Dan Kadar over at SB Nation gave the Bucs an A+ for their pick. Which—yeah, how can you give them any other grade?

For some reason Howard dropped, and the Buccaneers were the benefactor. Much of the speculation about the Buccaneers was a tight end, but David Njoku of Miami with Howard being gone. Howard, along with Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, should accelerate the development of Jameis Winston.

Well, Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report can, somehow. After gushing about Howard for a few paragraphs he gave the Bucs a B+ for picking Howard, which doesn’t actually seem to fit what he wrote? But whatever. Similarly, CBS Sports gave the Bucs a B+ as well.

The rest fell in line, though. A. Fox Sports: A+. Walter Football: A+. That’s more like it. I genuinely do not get how you’d give this pick anything less than an A, and none of the analysts explain clearly why they chose to go with a lower grade.

Of course, all of these grades are somewhat meaningless right now. They’re basically evaluations of the picks against the consensus value and team needs as they’re perceived by the media. We’ll only have a clear picture of who was a success and who wasn’t in three years or so—by which time, O.J. Howard should be one of the best tight ends in the NFL.