Bucs TE O.J. Howard – Photo courtesy of the University of Alabama
The excitement from head coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht couldn’t be hidden as they spoke at the podium late on Thursday night speaking about new Bucs tight end O.J. Howard.
While there was no visual when Howard spoke to the Bucs media just after 11 p.m., the former Bama standout’s voice couldn’t contain his happiness as well.
Below is a transcript from the conference call with Howard from the media session at One Buc Place
(Thoughts on being picked by Tampa Bay)
“Yeah that’s what they told me. I’m just excited to go somewhere, and they have a loaded offense, so I’m excited about that.”
(Thoughts on playing at Raymond James and being able to play in the NFL)
“I’m just excited. I’ve been in that stadium before and I loved it, loved the environment. To be able to go back and play there again is truly, truly a blessing. I’m excited about it.”
(Have you talked with Jameis Winston?)
“He texted me as soon as I got drafted and he told me, ‘Welcome. Welcome to the battle boys.’ So he told me that, and he’s a great quarterback, great guy, so I’m excited to play with him.”
(On how long will it take to get your feet wet in the NFL and make the starting lineup)
“Hopefully not long. I’m trying to go in there right now and be an impact on the team, so I’m looking forward to that.”
(On his strengths)
“Just a guy that can be a three-down tight end, go in there and block, but then stretch the field and make plays.”
(On dropping to No. 19 when you were expected to go Top 10)
“The way the draft started off, I could kind of see it happening, but my agent told me that my range was from 6 to 20, and it was right before that. So it didn’t shock me because I could go from 6 to 20 and that’s exactly what happened.”
(On advantage will it be with all the size the Bucs have)
“Huge. I think it’s going to be a huge advantage. Tall guys, it’ll give us a chance to let Jameis throw it up and let us go make plays.”
(On passion do you have for blocking)
“I have a lot of passion for it. I think that’s what it takes to be a dominant tight end. You have to be able to block and be able to make plays in the run game to allow the passing game to open up, so I take a lot of pride in that.”
(On Winston’s ability to improvise and make plays outside of the pocket)
“I feel very confident in him. Him being able to do that, move around, make plays, keep plays alive and I think that says a lot about him and his athletic ability. That just allows us to make more plays.”
(On QB that makes you make adjustments on the fly)
“I’m used to adjusting to whatever it may be to fit our offense. Whatever that may be, I’m looking forward to it and being able to adjust.”
(How have you been able to excel in big games?)
“I really take a lot of pride in that. I like to be very good in every game, but especially on that stage when there’s so many eyes on you and there’s so much at stake. You have no room for error.”
(On happy to play at Alabama where the expectations are so high, even if you don’t touch the ball as much)
“I am. I enjoyed going to Alabama because it made me more than just a catcher. I learned how to block, I learned how to be a be a better all-around team player, and football player in general, and I’d rather do that than just go to go to some school and catch 100 balls a year.”
(On coming to Dirk Koetter’s attacking offense that gets the TE so involved)
“It’s going to be amazing. I want to finally see what I can do in an offense like that and see how it plays out.”
(Thoughts of being a Buccaneer)
“I was very overwhelmed and excited about it. I told my parents, ‘I think I’m about to come up at 19,” and they called me. It was pretty sweet.”
-Taylor Jenkins contributed to this report
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
This article is still on the subject of Howard so I’ll just repeat my previous post.
I’m not surprised O.J. Howard was there as evidenced by my mock draft as I had the Bucs taking him.
I think his value is right where we took him so in that sense I think it was a good pick. It’s hard for me to get too excited about a TE in the first round (would rather have had an OT), but certainly better than taking Hargreaves last year. We’re off to a good start with with draft, let’s keep it tomorrow. I truly believe the league will be divided 5 years from now based on how teams draft Friday night, not tonight. There is a LOT of talent still left at the CB, RB, DE and LB position that we need to take advantage of. Go Bucs!
Look at it like this.
He is a good blocker. Always was a Bama. Stick him on the end and let him help the tackles.
He’s not going to take on Von Miller one on one, but he is a very capable blocker. I did not even consider him in my mock. I just knew he’d be gone in top 10. I have been clamoring for help on the line all off season.
This is as close I’ll get to being totally happy. It’s a great pick.
So you were warm on the TE pick, but would’ve wanted us to overdraft in a mediocre Tackle class?
Watch his tape blocking Myles Garrett. It’s like drafting an extra OT.
As the Draft was unfolding, with teams drooling all over themselves to take one of these mediocre QB’s, I kept thinking Howard had a chance to get to us if he got past the Titans. When they took the CB, I’ll bet Licht and Koetter couldn’t wait to turn in the card for Howard. T.E.’s like this are just so rare these days. I wonder if he jumped in the pool to celebrate.
I’d be careful about generalizing. I believe Watson is going to be a super quarterback. In many ways he reminds me of Jameis Winston … extremely intelligent, big body, loves to pass, and sometimes makes too risky passes that he, like Jameis, will learn to tone down.
The other QBs taken last night – meh.
Another way that Desaun Watson is like Jameis: he is said to be a huge student of the NFL game, every week he rolls up his sleeves with the coaches to analyze many hours game film and game-plan the offense. Dabo Swinney is said to have virtually annointed Watson as a member of his coaching staff, in effect.
I still can’t figure how those other QB’s went ahead of Watson. I will take a winner all day every day over a project. Watsion will be the best qb of this class, and I agree with you about the similarities to Jameis outside of the system they played in in college.
Agree, he should have gone first. But it turned out best for him in the long run. He’s got a solid offense to QB and one of the best defenses in the league to keep them in games. Wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him win ROY award and make the team make the playoffs. I’m rooting for him, other than when they play the Bucs of course.
Watson is the only one I liked, but he’s no Jameis or he would have been taken much sooner. The real head-scratcher for me was the Trubisky pick. The guy only started 13 games and lost 5 of them. Time will tell.
We are just getting our heads wrapped around this unexpected pick … the initial talk being all about OJ’s receiving skills. But listening to his words it hit home with me that our running game just got a lot better, because we’ve now got another high quality three down run blocker on the field. Adding in healthy Sweezy and an apparently (so far, at least) health Doug Martin, I think we can expect a much better run game this season!
The Bucs will be hard to defend this year. A lot of times teams are tipped off whether it’s going to be a run, or a pass play by the tight end that lines up. With Howard, they will be able to disguise their plays a little better because he does both well, block and catch. But even if teams know what’s coming, they have a tough decision on who to focus on. This pick helps us in so many ways, I don’t think we’ve even begun to have an idea how Koetter can use this kid.
Look at how Koetter used Tony Gonzales. Now I”m not saying he will be a Ho Fer , but Koetter loves two tight end sets. I like to say, look at our first game last year, the only game we had all of our pieces and two good pass catching TE’s. We hung 36 on Atlanta. It should be fun to watch that’s for sure Dude.Love the screen name by the way.
“That rug really tied the room together”
Good point, it’s going to be exciting even if all we have is Martin in the backfield. If history teaches us anything here, this should be a good year for Martin since it alternates every other year. And, thanks for the comment on the name.
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