O.J. Howard: King of the Rookie Tight End Mountain

by Zach Krueger ·

Height: 6-6
Weight: 251
Age: 22.3
40-Yard Dash: 4.51 (96th-percentile)
Height-adjusted Speed Score (HaSS): 123.9 (98th-percentile)
Burst Score: 113.0 (27th-percentile)
Agility Score: 11.01 (98th-percentile)
Catch Radius: 10.20 (85th-percentile)

Best Comparable: Greg Olsen

There’s always a handful of “can’t miss” prospects in every draft, go ahead and consider former Alabama tight end O.J. Howard one of them. If his comparison to superstar tight end Greg Olsen isn’t enough for you (PlayerProfiler.com), then hear out the rest of his profile.

As a four-year player for the Crimson Tide, O.J. Howard made an immediate impact for Nick Saban, starting five games as a freshman in 2013. As a freshman, Howard hauled in 14 receptions for 269 yards and two touchdowns, while averaging a ridiculous 19.2 yards per catch. As a sophomore, Howard put up similar numbers, posting 17 receptions for 260 yards, but failed to find the end zone.

During his junior year in 2015,O.J. Howard finally had an opportunity to shine, hauling in 38 receptions for a career high 602 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He followed up his junior year with another productive senior season, where he recorded 45 receptions for 595 yards and a career high three touchdowns.

Playing offense for Alabama seldom yields productive seasons for tight ends, as they are more often called to run block for a backfield that features elite running back prospects. The school is not known for its NFL caliber tight ends, and according to ESPN.com, only has two current tight ends in the NFL (Brian Vogler, Indianapolis Colts) (Michael Williams, New England Patriots). Considering O.J. Howard is viewed to be an elite tight end coming out of Alabama should speak volumes about him, and the fact that Nick Saban thought enough of him to develop him into something other than a run blocker.

O.J. Howard Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

O.J. Howard was already viewed as an athletic freak prior to the NFL Scouting Combine, and did not disappoint when all eyes were on him. The 6-foot-6, 249-pound tight end stood out head and shoulders among a very deep tight end class, posting a 4.51 40-yard dash (96th-percentile), 123.9 HaSS (98th-percentile), 11.01 Agility Score (98th-percentile) and 10.20 Catch Radius (85th-percentile).

While O.J. Howard’s pass-catching prowess will make him an attractive option to NFL teams in today’s pass-heavy offensive attacks, his run-blocking ability is just as solid. While there is still room for Howard to improve in all aspects of the game, his measurables and explosiveness alone should make him a Day 1 selection.


Barring any setbacks, O.J. Howard should find himself in a starting role come Week 1 of the NFL season. His ability in the passing game should have yielded him more opportunities while at Alabama, but playing under a coach committed to the run will only get you so far. Howard should transition easily to most pro style offenses, and could turn into an immediate impact player among all tight ends in the league.

One lucky franchise will land O.J. Howard in the first round come the 2017 NFL Draft, and multiple fantasy gamers will look forward to turning him into late round gold come next year.