Buccaneers: Five guys to watch when Hard Knocks begins
3. O.J. Howard
There are always expectations on the first round draft pick for any team. O.J. Howard is no different. The Bucs organization and its fans were thrilled to pieces when Howard was still available with the 19th pick in the draft. Jason Licht snatched him right up and he joins this already lethal Bucs offense. On paper, they are one of the top offenses in the entire league and Howard is right in the middle of it.
He is a complete player; we can thank coach Nick Saban of Alabama for that. He commits to blocking as much as he does to the passing game. Howard is likely to see time with Cameron Brate, making two tough weapons to defend down the seam. At 6-5 and 6-6 respectively, Howard and Brate will be two absolute trees down in the red zone. Send Mike Evans down there as well and the defense will have no idea who to defend.
Seeing a player adapt to the pro game is always interesting to watch. The speed of these practices will be nowhere near the speed from school. How does he adapt? Howard is going to realize he won’t be as wide open as he was in college. He probably won’t ever be that wide open. Does he learn how to find those open windows in the defense to make plays? He has to earn his way onto the field. Winston trusts the guys that make plays. We can all watch together as he learns how to make those plays at the NFL level.