O.J. Howard goes No. 19 to Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL Draft
O.J. Howard became only the seventh tight end since 2007 to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night when he was taken with the No. 19 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former Alabama standout becomes the first Crimson Tide tight end to be selected in the first round since 1978 when Ozzie Newsome was selected with the No. 23 pick overall by the Cleveland Browns. Howard joins Marlon Humphrey (No. 16, Baltimore Ravens) and Jonathan Allen (No. 17, Washington Redskins) becoming the third Alabama player taken on the night.
Howard was selected as a third-team All-American by The Associated Press and earned second-team All-SEC honors after recording 45 receptions for 595 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-6, 251-pound tight end excelled in both of Alabama’s national championship games the past two seasons, tallying four catches for 106 yards and one touchdown last season and five catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns the year before.
Hailed for his abilities as both a blocker and a pass catcher, Howard is viewed as the most complete tight end in this year’s draft class.
“I think you’re going to get a great receiver, but you’re also going to get a complete guy that can block well,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said of Howard during the Tide’s pro day. “I think he’s done really really well in how he’s represented himself at the combine and in these workouts.”