After a slow start to his third season in the league and Bruce Arians’ tendency to neglect tight ends, are the Buccaneers shopping O.J. Howard?
With the 19th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected tight end O.J. Howard out of the University of Alabama. The 6-6 and 250 pound tight end was a mismatch nightmare in college, and through the first two years of his career, he was serving notices to NFL defenses as well.
In just his third season, is Howard now on the trade block as this new Buccaneers coaching staff has not figured out a way to get the 24 year old tight end involved in their passing attack? According to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, the Bucs could be interested in getting assets out of the young tight end as head coach Bruce Arians has never had much use for the tight end position throughout his coaching career.
After tallying over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns in the first two years of his career, Howard has just 144 yards and no touchdowns on 11 catches through five games in 2019. It is not that Howard is struggling or not getting open, but rather the Bucs are asking Howard to stay in and block much more this season, a classic misuse of his talents.
According to Football Outsiders, Howard is still 11th overall tight end in the league in DVOA, measuring the amount of efficient plays a player is responsible for over the league average. This proves that Howard has still been efficient for the Bucs, but not in the way that his talents align: catching the football in space.
Right now this rumor remains hearsay, but it makes sense as Arians has never utilized the tight end position, and the Buccaneers have a talented one in O.J. Howard. As the Buccaneers get ready for kickoff against the Carolina Panthers in London, it will be interesting to see how the pewter and red use the talented tight end.