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O.J. Howard is Tampa Bay’s ‘Breakout Player’ candidate for 2019

Bleacher Report sees the tight end as a candidate to have a big year

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

It seems the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season really only has two ways to go. It’s either going to be a resounding success or a catastrophic failure.

Within the team dynamic however, are individual performances and personal successes and failures. This year, a lot has been said about what’s expected - or not expected - from players like Chris Godwin, Ronald Jones and tight end O.J. Howard.

The last of this offensive trio was the focal point when Bleacher Report’s Chris Roling set out to identify one key player to stamp as his “Breakout Player Candidate” for the upcoming season.

“Howard only got 48 targets last year, catching 34 of them for 565 yards and five scores over 10 games. He hit the 50-yard mark in eight of those games. In theory, better quarterback play and scheme should free him up for big total numbers.”

It couldn’t have been an easy choice to select Howard over Godwin though, especially with all the love and public praise the wide receiver has gotten from head coach Bruce Arians. Of the two though, Roling justified his selection by writing,

“Really, though, we could argue Godwin broke out last year with 842 yards and seven scores. And leaning into a 6’6, 251-pound target like Howard has a feeling of comfort to it when predicting a breakout.”

Some other significant breakout candidates identified by Roling include Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore and New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport.

All good choices of course, and just further evidence those worried about Arians’ history with a lack of tight end production in the past is likely to be something we can all forget once the offense takes the field. Simply put, with the amount of opportunities Howard will get, and the fact his quarterback is expected to rely on those who are reliable more than ever, the third-year tight ends production projects to be climbing versus declining entering this new era of Buccaneers football.

Check out the full list over at Bleacher Report and comment below with your thoughts on O.J. Howard and other breakout candidates for the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season!