When the Buccaneers selected tight end O.J. Howard with the 19th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, it seemed as though people either loved it (thinking Howard should have been gone by then) or hated it (thinking the tight end position was a luxury pick and wished the team picked a different position with their first round pick).

Whatever side of the debate you were on, what wasn’t debatable was Howard’s production in 2017. According to PFF, Howard had the highest rating of any player catching deep ball passes last season.

Do you think this kind of success is sustainable with Howard? Should he overtake Cam Brate as the team’s No. 1 tight end in 2018?

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21 COMMENTS

  1. The only people that hated us picking O.J. was the Dalvin Cook fan club. Funnily enough it’s those same guys that still don’t like him despite being the most efficient and explosive target on the Bucs last season.

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    • I agree and I am a FSU fan.

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      • +1

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    • I don’t think I’ve seen anyone on here knocking OJ. He’s incredibly talented and a steal. I was a huge Dalvin fan, as I am a Noles fan, and it was a huge need. But once OJ fell that far, it was a no brainer. This kid has an incredibly high ceiling and is an incredible blocker as well. That and Jameis is much better when it comes to throwing to TE’s overall and in this offense.

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      • Unfortunately, I have. There is an actual dialogue that Engram was a better prospect coming out than Howard. I’m more than happy with OJ80.

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      • +1

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    • +1 *2

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  2. Howard was a great pick. Imo it’s not an either/or proposition with Brate but both. They’re both great talents.

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  3. “Do you think this kind of success is sustainable with Howard?”

    No. He was wide open on some of those deep balls. He will be more accounted for by defenses this year. That does not take away from him. Howard is a great well rounded talent that hit the NFL running. He has perennial pro bowl potential as a minimum – and a Tony Gonzalez clone is more like his ceiling. This is a good spectrum to play under.

    Play calling needs to get much better this year. That will be more of a determinant of Howard’s success than his own natural ability. Look at his time at Alabama – he was eager, humble, and did anything that was asked without question. Saban underutilized him. He still rose to the top. No reason he won’t do the same in the NFL. Here’s to Koetter figuring it out.

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    • They can’t cover all three of them so yeah potentially they are. Evan and OJ can be chased down, not many players in the NFL can chase down Jackson. It’s not like don’t have other weapons too. There is much of excuse for this team not to have multiple explosive passing plays every game. With this roster that is the expectation.

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      • Agree, and the same things were said last offseason after the draft and DJax singing. Agree 100% that there is no excuse. So many OC’s would love to work with this group. I still suspect defenses will key in more on Howard and dare DJax to beat them.

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      • I would love to see us run a 3 WR 2 TE set often. Spread the defense out and force the mismatch. You would have LBs and safety’s trying to cover Brate and OJ. That would also match Godwin up against their nickel back. Honestly, I would have loved to have Gruden back as our HC. He was great at shifting players and creating mismatches. With the talent we have at TE-WR, there will always be a mismatch on the field.

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  4. Cam and O.J are both phenomenal players. I think that Koetter took the same approach with him as he did with Chris Godwin that Trevor already outlined in a previous cover 3. That he was letting him get acclimated to the speed and blocking techniques of the NFL first and foremost before relying on his more polished catching abilities. But I think this year he will be utilized more regularly and at that point. He is more athletic and more playing making ability than Cam. But I wouldn’t dare get rid of either one of them.

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  5. The value of Howard was hard to resist. I really like him. But, OL was a great need, and we passed on Ryan Ramczyk. Yes, he moved to RT in the NFL, and Dotson had a good year there before his injury. But, I think that he would have been a starter even at guard where the real need was. And, when Dotson does retire, …

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    • I woulda been cool with Ramczyk. But I truly think that O.J. Howard is going to be a top tight end and a game-changer in the NFL for many years to come.

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  6. Howard is a good blocker and receiver he’s more valuable than Brate. I’m a big Brate fan too.

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  7. Come on with this twisting of stats. Is true fans who watched every down know on three of those he was wide open had nothing to do with his playmaking ability. He literally snuck out to the opposite side that the play was going for a backside 10 yard pitch and run that he housecalled. Luke stocker could have took those to the house and he would be number one deep ball threat by pff. That being said I think he is going to be a beast this year and I love the pick

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    • Oh yeah Jeffbuc? And let me ask you a question. Since you seek to know everything. Why is it that OJ was able to sneak out and run down the field wide open. Not once, not twice, but 3 times. Seeing as other teams coaches are NOT dumb, and probably saw that on film when scouting the Bucs. It’s because he’s one of the best blocking TE’s in the league. So teams can’t assume or gameplan for him to pretend to block and go out for a pass instead, because of his top notch blocking skills. So that’s an indefensible play. As long as the Bucs are not running that play 5 times a game, it will always work because his blocking is feared just as much as his pass catching. Koetter could run that play 1 time per game, and it will always work. What are you gonna do? Leave a LB spy out there IN CASE OJ slips out the back for a pass? And if they guess wrong, now somebody is left completely uncovered. Go watch some Pats games. There’s a reason Gronk is always so wide open too. It’s for the same reason. Because his blocking is feared by defenses too! Now if OJ wasn’t a great blocker, this would never work. Teams would know he’s out there to catch a pass. It’s called common sense dude

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  8. I think Howard is going to have a breakout year this year. We have to remember, last year he was learning the playbook and Koetter was learning about him. I look for big things from him this year. If Jameis can work on his accuracy a little bit this year, we might see an offense like we’ve never seen here before. D-Jax was also learning the playbook last year and getting familiar with Winston. I think we will either see him improve as well, or he might as well call it a career here in Tampa. But I believe he has a lot left in the tank and should be better utilized this year.

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  9. Give it time. A lot of those plays were extended, wide open, busted coverage plays. Only another season will tell if he gets better coverage this season and how he excels or not.

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    • They’re not busted coverages, they’re plays that can’t be defended. Because OJ is a great blocker, teams can’t just assume he’s gonna pretend to block, then slip out the side for a pass. If they guess wrong, now someone is left completely uncovered in the middle of the field. That play will always work as long as they don’t run it 5 times a game. It’s amazing to me that some of you people don’t get why that play always worked last year. Thought it was common sense

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