Buccaneers go defence in 2nd round, draft S Justin Evans

Doyle BarkerApr 30, 2017

The Bucs on Thursday made Alabama tight end O.J. Howard the No. 19 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. As far as 2017 goes, however, it will probably be hard for Howard to make a big fantasy impact in an offense already crowded by Brate, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson.

"He texted me", an excited Howard said. "He's a great quarterback, a good guy".

With problematic Florida State running back Dalvin Cook, a presumptive favorite of Winston's, still available, the Bucs instead went with one of the cleanest players in the draft.

Martin was the NFL's second-leading rusher two years ago. Last January, Howard caught four passes for 106 yards and one TD. But his true breakout season was in 2015, where he caught 38 passes for 602 yards and earned Offensive MVP honors in the national championship game with 208 receiving yards and two touchdowns on five catches. There are many teams that pick before the Buccaneers that should give more consideration to the tight end position, including the Jacksonville Jaguars.

According to Pro Football Focus' draft guide, Howard caught 100-of-132 targets in his career at Alabama.

The draft concludes Saturday, when the Bucs will now have a quiet day.

"We have a handful of players that we've already taken off our board, and not all of it for criminal matters, but also just from a perspective of getting along with the team and being a worker and being a team-first guy", Licht said. That's what my agent told me.

Howard was used mainly as a blocker in Nick Saban's run-oriented Alabama offense.

"I have a lot of passion about it".

Howard is the first SEC tight end taken that early since 2004, when New England selected Georgia's Ben Watson. At the top of the charts, you're trying to make sure you don't miss.

Howard has struggled to live up to hype that has come with his play-making ability while at Alabama, but some scouts put the blame on the staff and scheme. I learned how to block.

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