OJ HowardTE Alabama

6-6, 251, 6.85 3-Cone, (O) 4.51!

4.16 SS, 22 Reps! 33 3/4" Arms,

10'1" Broad, 30" Vert,

 

One Tough SOB. 

By TOM

He is the best blocking TE in this Draft. He is the most versatile TE in this Draft. It is amazing how he will block a big guy inside, and then line up outside to run patterns on the next play. I think he has the best hands in the Draft. I have never seen him fight the ball in the slightest way. That is just so remarkable for the a 250-pound tight end, who is also the best blocking TE in the Draft. 

I really thought he would come out last year. "It was kind of a decision where I thought I had so much left on the table in college," Howard said. "How I can mature on and off the field. It really wasn’t a hard decision at the end of the day." It appears he made the right decision.

He became a better blocker and receiver. "He’s kind of the type that’s neutral," Howard said about Saban "But he lets you know: 'I think you can improve on this', 'I think it will be helpful if you come back and do this.' He played a role in it also, but coach tries to really let you decide. He does a great job of telling you what you can improve on if you come back." You can see that he worked very hard on his game last year.

They did use him more in the biggest games of the season, like against A&M and Clemson. "O.J., quite honestly, should have been more involved all year long," Saban said. "Sometimes he was open and we didn't get him the ball. But I think the last two games have been breakout games for him in terms of what he's capable of and what he can do. I would say it's bad coaching on my part that he didn't have the opportunity to do that all year long." It is hard to forget what he did in the 2015 Playoffs.

He became a more consistent receiver this year. "Route running," Howard said. "You can always get better in blocking. You can never be too good of a blocker. Just that next level, just elevate it a lot more. Just be dominant. That’s really what I’m trying to do." He was the best blocking tight end in college football in 2016.

Impact tight end who Saban hasn’t figured out how to properly use. "I have no idea, honestly man. It was kind of a question mark my whole career about that, but I’ve never been able to give an answer to this day," Howard said, and then continued. "It was a little bit that the game plan was different and a little bit just being able to make plays. In the right place at the right time and having the opportunities. I was thankful for those games. I got the opportunity to show off the ability that I have in those last two games on a big stage." He was the best player at the Senior Bowl.

He has such talent, but it got lost at Alabama sometimes. "I’m trying to be a guy that can help a team make plays down the field," Howard said. "[I want] be that go-to guy [during the] big moments. Just separate myself from defenders and be a playmaker. I think I’m a playmaker, I play better with the ball in my hand. I can help a team out a lot that way." He became the playmaker in the Playoffs.

He can find the OLB on the outside, get his hands in his shirt, and seal him outside so the RB can cut up inside behind him. "The way coach Saban always stressed discipline, always stresses buying into what you have to do," Howard said. "Take it by the hand and take it full force. That’s what it’s going to take at this next level, every day. Coach Saban is one of the greatest coaches of all time. To even be in the same room as him and play under him is amazing." He is an elite blocker on the edge.

They ask him to do every kind of block you need to do in the NFL. "Alabama is a tough program, but we all knew that before we signed those papers to commit to it," Howard said. "So it really depends how you take it by the hand and run with it." He is a great run blocker on the edge. 

He does a nice job getting outside and sealing the OLB. "I feel like if you love football, you’re going to do whatever it takes to be successful at the next level," Howard said. "Alabama is a tough program, but we all knew that before we signed those papers to commit to it. A lot of guys in the NFL who played for Alabama are really having success, too. So it really depends how you take it by the hand and run with it." They will also keep him in to block on play action.  He will get juked by quickness blocking outside sometimes. 

I'm starting to understand why so many team make so may mistakes. "Howard is the better prospect," an Exec said. "He's faster and a bigger playmaker. However, Butt is a better blocker, and he catches the ball more consistently." Howard is the best blocking tight end in the this Draft. Butt is the worst blocking TE in this draft. "Howard is more complete," an Exec who actually saw them play said. "He's a better blocker, and he plays much faster." If you think that Butt is a better blocker than you haven't watched him play, or you are a idiot. There simply is no comparison between the two blockers.

He is terrific in pass pro. "O.J. Howard has played great for us this year," Saban said. "I know lots of people equate it on how many passes you catch if you're a tight end. But the guy does so many things for us offensively. He's a good blocker, blocks on the perimeter very well. Just does an outstanding job of executing our offense. There have been several occasions where we didn't get him the ball when we should of." He was singled up against Garrett and Hall in pass pro, and stoned them in the rush more than once.

He is a terrific lead blocker on the counter. "I love football, for one, and I knew it was going to be a great opportunity to come out and showcase some of my skills," Howard said. "Do a great job in run blocking and running routes. Like I said, I love football and whenever there is an opportunity to play against great talent, I’m always going to be down to do it." He has that knack for getting open on the second level. 

He has an NFL game, and should really step up on the next level right away. "That was part of the reason I came back for my senior year," Howard said. "To improve on my run blocking. I thank Coach [Mario] Cristobal a lot for helping me improve this year with that. It’s all about technique and that’s the biggest thing. Keeping your hands inside and keeping those feet moving." He is already an NFL blocker.

Additional Notes:

LSU: He blocked LSU's Key one on one in the pass pro and won. Terrific on the crack back block running across the line to hit the DE. Nice job blocking Jamal Adams on the 2nd level. He can grab the OLB, turn him, and let the RB cut right off his back. He is a good receiver, but they just never throw to him. Nice quick hands catching the ball, and he is a pure hands catcher. 

Arkansas: He can hit the OLB on the 2nd level and seals him inside. Howard is a great blocker. They had a very young O-line this year, and they really relied on his blocking to help out the young guys early in the season. You can see him doing every kind of block teams like a the Patriots expect their Tight Ends to make. He has lined up at FB and was the lead blocker. He lined up outside of both Tackles and was a dependable blocker in pass pro. He is a terrific inline blocker. He excels at getting outside the tackles and run blocking in space. Great blocker on the 2nd and 3rd levels when he team mates are running with the ball in their hands. He showed it all on Tape in Tuscaloosa. 

OJ Howard Vs Clemson:

2015: Saban finally figured out how to use Howard in the 2015 Champ game. They don't win the Championship without him catching passes on the 2nd and 3rd levels. When you throw him the ball he catches it, and then runs with reckless abandon. He was flying all over the field against Clemson. He looked like the best tight end to come out in a while when it mattered the most. 

He is also one of the top edge blockers in this Draft. They were running outside his blocks all game. It is so rare to have such a fast athlete who is also a monster blocker inline. Great hands for grabbing shirt inside. He can grab hold of linebackers and dominate them at the point. He played a similar role as Gronk in the Alabama offense. He went out for deep patterns to draw DBs away from the WRs, and he is expected to be one of the top blockers at the point in the run game. There are not a lot of guys who can fill that dual role.

2016: When they threw to him he came through. Clemson got within three points in the 3rd, and he caught a stunning 68-yard TD catch to get Alabama up 10 again (and yes, I was so stunned that my jaw did drop). Great hands. He caught that ball 30-yards downfield flying full speed down the sideline. Nice job leaping up and snagging the ball way over his head to catch it. Great strong hands catching the ball. How many clutch catches does this guy have to make for him to get the respect he deserves. 

He will miss smaller quicker DBs blitzing sometimes. Very nice job when he has the DE on the edge in the run game. Nice job lining up at H-back and getting to the 3rd level to block the safety. When the ball is thrown to him he catches it. He will line up in line, get a nice release, and can catch it right in front of the safeties as he boxes them out with his body. He can take the big hit from the safeties and hold onto the ball. Great job coming back, and blocking a linebacker when the QB takes off.

He will give a little shove block on the play action, and then get out into the flat in front of the QB. Great lead blocker. He can line up on the right, and fly across the LOS to lead the RB on the other side, and hit the LB and knock him straight back on his butt. He can double down on the DE and push him into the ORT, and then pick up the OLB charging the line. Not a lot of tight ends can make that double block.

Howard Vs Clemson 2015:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXuD5W66J7A

Howard Vs A&M:

Nice job sealing Miles Garrett outside on an inside run. That was a great block on 2nd and 1 (:50). Check it out. He did it again. He sealed Hall outside on another run on 2nd and 1 (1:05). You can see him do every kind of block on Tape. Here he is blocking the smaller DB out in space (1:12). And check out the staggering block on Hall, before he caught the pass.

He caught the awkward pass thrown from behind him, and caught it with his hands out in front of him (1:20). Another kind of block. He dragged outside. When he saw the QB take off, he blocked the LB with a shove to the ground (1:42). I mean, here he was in Pass Pro (1:48). You can see him do every kind of block on Tape that he will have to do in the NFL. but I'm not going to go play by play. These are notes from this game and I just wanted to synch them up with the times on the Tape. Then he went and sealed Garrett outside again on the next play.

He caught the little shovel pass inside, and created a lot of yards with his quickness and strength. You can literally see him drag a DE on the ground, by his foot, for 5-yards (2:07). They like to run a little shovel pass to him inside, which they run like a Center screen. He can really pick up some yards like an RB, with the ball in his hands. Elite athlete with the ball in his hands.

He sealed Garrett and then Hall again. He caught a TD against A&M dragging outside from the Five, after he chipped Hall (2:43). But what makes him an elite prospect is that he has elite hands. He doesn't ever fight the ball. He is the most natural hands catcher of all the tight ends, and maybe WRs. Watch how he caught the pass looking back, and swung forward without really watching the ball into his hands. (3:08). He caught it as he was turning, and powered into the Endzone. He has the softest hands in the Draft. He took one hell of hit as well. This is not said nearly enough in regards to Howard, "he is one tough SOB."

You can see him blocking LBs on the 2nd level. Excellent job chopping the DT inside (3:54). He just caught everything thrown to him. He turned back and caught the ball behind him, and turned up field and ran in for the TD (4:54). He was playing a lot of H-back, or Move TE in this game. He usually was more of an inline guy (or at least that was how I remembered him). But check out the hands on that catch. Again he was looking back and caught it with out any thought. He snapped back around with some great suddenness in his shoulders, and transitioned from catcher to runner as quick as anyone in this Draft.

He was terrific chipping on the big 270-pound Edgerusher, and then curled out to the Flat to get open. Again, watch the hands as he has to slow and twist his trunk back to catch the ball thrown a little behind him. Then he snapped back in an instant transition to runner (5:01). He was terrific on the screens outside (5:10). He was dynamic with the ball in his hands. When they actually feature him, he caught every kind of pass you can throw.

Here he is in Pass Pro on the #1 Pick in the Draft (5:19). Here's another one. A crack back block on the blitzing LB (5:29). They motioned him all over the line. Then he chipped on the edgerusher, slid off,  and went and hit the safety coming down hill (6:29). Nice job getting to the second level to seal the CB on an outside run (6:56). That is the end of my notes for this game. You might have noticed that I was little excited for this game.

Howard Vs A&M:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1vnP9FFigY

Howard Vs Auburn:

He lined up inline. I love how he chipped on the D-End and had no trouble getting out to the LB on the 2nd level (:09). Then he was lined up out wide in a Bunch. He is the most versatile TE in this Draft. He got to the second level and stalemated the smaller quick DB in space (:15). There is not another guy in this Draft who can block Garrett, cut a big DT inline, and then made that block out in space, and catch a 68-yard TD pass.

After blocking out in space again, he is lined up inline. He danced past the DE, got to the 2nd level, and sealed the ILB inside (:34). Then he stepped out to the Seam like a WR. This was a very difficult block. He got his hands into the Safety's shirt, and then watch how long he had to hold onto the block while moving laterally (:45). I think BB just stood up and clapped in the film room.

The shovel pass. Again thrown a little behind him. He didn't fight the ball in the slightest as he seemed to twist his trunk back to catch it, and simultaneously snapped back outside to read his blocks (:54). Crack back block. But the QB kept the ball on the Option, which was a bad read by the QB (1:09). In line on the right this time. Watch this block on the 3rd level. He held on for 3 or 4 seconds (1:18). Then shoved him to the ground as the RB arrived.

Lead blocking like a FB (1:27). He is so good at chipping and dragging outside. Again, he caught the ball thrown behind him effortlessly. Even when he knew the Safety was charging up to do him harm. He never seemed to fight the ball at all (1:34). Then he lined up outside like a WR (1:43). Watch the pattern as he snuck around the DB, and got position just past the marker.

He was tackled as the QB threw to him (2:03). Watch the impact on the D-end on this crack back block. His whole body was rocked backwards, and he flipped him back head over heels (2:40). Lead block in the hole (2:50). He faked the crack back (2:57). Then he went outside. Watch the arm extension as he effortlessly caught the ball away from his body. Then he turned instantly up field. He is so good at reading his blocks, and setting up his blockers so he can get extra yards.

Watch this tough inline block (3:16). He got two chips in, and then worked his way open over the middle (3:23). Crack back block on Lawson (3:31). Watch this pattern. He faked the crack back, which froze Lawson (3:16). Then he was flying outside. Watch how he made the low and outside catch look easy. Then watch the burst to the 2nd level after he turned upfield.

Watch Lawson react well to the play action. But Howard was still able to get out to him, and shoved him to the ground (3:55). In line, watch him power block Lawson inside (4:05). He washed the DE inside, but then was hit by the O-linemen, which actually allowed the DT to get back outside (4:16). Watch the agility as he stopped and started, and still got to the LB out in space (4:22). That was a tough block. Then he fought him down field, and cut him.

He is just a great crack back blocker (4:33). Watch him drive the LB back and out of the play on 3rd and 1 (4:40). That was a nice flag pattern that the Patriots will certainly have the TE run (4:47). Watch this catch of the shovel pass. He caught it as the LB was charging right into him (4:54). And that was really the game. It is all running out the clock from here. But you can see him make a nice assortment of runs blocks at the end of the game. 

Howard Vs Auburn:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2-4KN7V6RU

Howard's Official Bio:

2016 (Senior): One of the best tight ends in Crimson Tide history ... finalist for the Senior CLASS Award ... named to the SEC Community Service Team ... chosen as a first team All-American by Pro Football Focus and a third-team selection by the Associated Press ... earned second team All-SEC honors from both the coaches and the AP ... was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, which is given annually to the nation’s best tight end ... selected to the Mackey Preseason and Midseason Watch Lists ... tabbed to the Maxwell, Wuerffel and Lombardi Award Preseason Watch Lists while also being selected as an Allstate/AFCA Good Works Team nominee ... selected as the MVP of the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship Game thanks to his five catches for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns against Clemson ... finished with 45 receptions for 595 yards and three touchdowns as a senior ... averaged 13.2 yards per catch ... 17 of his receptions went for 15 yards or more with 25 catches going for a first down or a touchdown ... chosen as one of the UA coaching staff’s offensive players of the week for his games against Western Kentucky, Kent State, Mississippi State and Chattanooga. USC: Finished second on the team in receptions with three for 39 yards ... had a long catch of 40 yards on a laser from Blake Barnett late in the third quarter ... also provided blocks for the Alabama backs to accumulate 242 yards on the ground. Western Kentucky: Caught a pair of passes for 29 yards with a long of 20 ... helped provide blocks on the edge to allow for the Tide’s 124 yards rushing. Ole Miss: Reeled in two passes for 24 yards against the Rebels ... had a long reception of 16 yards in the game ... helped provide the blocks for the Crimson Tide rushing attack to pile up a season-high 334 yards on the ground. Kent State: Finished his half of play with three catches for a season-long 60 yards including his first touchdown reception of the season ... the score came on a 34-yard strike from Blake Barnett, his long reception for the day. Kentucky: Tallied a pair of catches for 13 yards with a long of 12 against the Wildcats. Arkansas: Caught one pass for 21 yards and a first down against the Razorbacks. Tennessee: Started at tight end, catching one pass for 23 yards ... fought for extra yards after keeping himself up with one arm before being tackled just inches short of the goal line ... provided key blocks for the Tide’s season-leading and Saban-era high 438 yards rushing. Texas A&M: Caught a career-high eight passes for 69 yards and a touchdown ... hauled in a long catch of 21 yards and picked up three first downs. LSU: Did an excellent job blocking on the edge against the Tigers as the Tide rushed for 216 yards and a touchdown ... caught one pass. Mississippi State: Five of his six catches went for a first down ... finished with six grabs for 77 yards, with a long play of 30 yards ... earned Offensive Player of the Week honors from the Crimson Tide coaching staff. Chattanooga: Recorded one catch for seven yards and was instrumental in the rushing attack ... earned Alabama Offensive Player of the Week accolades for his efforts against the Mocs. Auburn: Ranked second on the team with five catches for 45 yards, including a long reception of 14 yards ... a reliable option, three of his catches helped the Tide net a first down ... three of his five catches went for first downs. Florida: Hauled in two catches for 41 yards with a long reception of 32 yards ... both of his catches led to the Tide’s second offensive touchdown of the day. Washington: Led all Crimson Tide receivers with four catches and 44 yards ... had long receptions of 16 yards twice with both catches resulting in a first down. Clemson: Led all receivers in yards with 106 on four receptions with a career-long 68-yard touchdown catch ... finished with 314 receiving yards and three TDs in two championship games against Clemson.

2015 (Junior): Gave Alabama a playmaker at the tight end position, providing a mismatch for most defenses in the passing game ... collected 38 catches on the season for 602 yards for a team-high 15.8 yards per catch average ... 24 of his catches converted first downs for the Tide with nine of 20 yards or more ... named one of the UA coaching staff’s offensive players of the game for his performance against Wisconsin in the season opener. Wisconsin: Started the season opener against the Badgers, reeling in three passes for 37 yards with a long reception of 21. Middle Tennessee: Caught a career-best four passes for 68 yards, including a 42-yard gain in the third quarter ... three of his catches converted first downs for the Tide. Ole Miss: Reeled in four catches for 70 yards including a long of 30 on the Tide’s first offensive drive of the game. ULM: Had two catches for eight yards on the day ... also recorded a tackle on the interception return. Georgia: Stayed in to block for the Tide backs on a rainy day in Athens ... helped provide lanes for the Crimson Tide runners to put together 189 yards rushing on the ground, including a career-high 148 yards for junior Derrick Henry. Arkansas: Finished the day with three catches for 17 yards, including a long of seven ... also notched his second tackle of the season, making the stop on a Razorback interception return. Texas A&M: Hauled in three passes for 35 yards with a long reception of 24 ... also helped block for Henry’s career-high 236 yards rushing. Tennessee: Set a career-high mark for receptions with seven totaling 55 yards ... hauled in a long pass of 18 yards. LSU: Registered two catches for 18 yards, both going for first downs ... helped block for the Tide’s 55 rushing attempts and 250 yards rushing, including Henry’s 210 yards on the ground. Mississippi State: Hauled in one catch for 15 yards and a first down ... helped block for Henry’s 204 yards rushing. Charleston Southern: Hauled in one catch for 12 yards in one half of play ... his lone catch converted a first down for the Tide on the team’s second scoring drive of the day. Auburn: Did not record a catch in the Iron Bowl ... helped block on the edge for Henry’s career-high 271 yards rushing. Florida: Helped provide running lanes for Henry’s SEC Championship Game MVP performance. Michigan State: Hauled in three catches, his most since Tennessee, for 59 yards with a long of 41 yards ... all three receptions resulted in a first down for the Crimson Tide. Clemson: Earned Offensive MVP honors for his career day against the Tigers ... finished with five catches for a career-high 208 yards and two touchdowns ... all five catches converted first downs while going for at least 15 yards ... hauled in a career-long 63 yard reception before being pushed out of bounds late in the fourth quarter ... his 208 yards were the most in a bowl game by any single player in Alabama history and were the most by any player in a national championship game.

2014 (Sophomore): A potent weapon at tight end for the Crimson Tide ... started three games and saw action in all 14 contests ... had 17 catches on the season for 260 yards and nine first downs ... averaged 15.3 yards per catch with six explosive receptions of 16 yards or more ... added three tackles. Florida: Made his first two catches of the season against the Gators ... accounted for 22 receiving yards and converted one first down. Ole Miss: Turned in his most productive game of the season against the Rebels ... caught three passes for 81 yards, averaging 27.0 yards per catch ... converted two first downs ... hauled in a long catch of 53 yards. Arkansas: Turned a short pass play into a 47-yard gain in Fayetteville for a first down and his only catch of the game. LSU: Was instrumental in the game-tying drive in regulation with two receptions for 12 yards, getting out of bounds both times to stop the clock ... finished with three catches for 21 yards ... hauled in a nine-yard reception for a first down earlier in the game. Mississippi State: Caught one pass for two yards in the Tide’s 25-20 win over the Bulldogs. Western Carolina: Pulled in a 26-yard reception and finished with two grabs for 33 yards ... both catches converted first downs for the Crimson Tide. Auburn: Made one reception for 20 yards and an Alabama first down. Missouri: Caught two passes for 20 yards including an explosive play of 17 yards that converted an Alabama first down. Ohio State: Caught two passes for 14 yards. 

2013 (Freshman): A true freshman who steadily gained knowledge and experience at tight end … played in all 13 games, with five starts … caught 14 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns … 13 of his 14 receptions converted first downs for Alabama, with eight going for 15 or more yards … averaged a team-best 19.2 yards per catch from his tight end spot. Virginia Tech: Received his first action in the crimson and white … did not have a catch but was targeted in the passing game. Texas A&M: Started and came up big in College Station with three catches for 68 yards … caught passes for 27, 26 and 15 yards against the Aggies, all converting first downs. Colorado State: Added three more receptions for 38 yards, with a long of 23. Ole Miss: Started his second game of the year but did not have a reception. Georgia State: Started and caught one pass for 13 yards and a first down. Kentucky: Came off the bench to catch two passes for 37 yards, including a long of 25 yards. Arkansas: Caught his first career touchdown on a 17-yard reception from AJ McCarron in the 52-0 win over the Hogs. LSU: Caught a crossing route for his only catch of the game and raced 52 yards, outrunning the LSU defense for a touchdown. Mississippi State: Pulled in one pass for 21 yards in the Tide’s win. Chattanooga: Made his fifth start of the season but did not have a reception. Auburn: Caught two passes for 23 yards … his 11- and 12-yard receptions both converted first downs.

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