O.J. Howard is hard to really consider underrated given his size and impressive talent, but there is no question that the fanbase underrates Howard. He may not have posted the monstrous stat lines that were expected of him last season, but that doesn’t indicate that he is a bust or worth trading.
Tight ends are primarily used as blockers in Bruce Arians’ offense. This didn’t allow Howard to shine on the stat sheet last year, but 2020 could see a stark improvement.
With Rob Gronkowski and Cameron Brate on the roster, both good blockers, Howard could be freed up to run more routes. For those who want to say that Gronk has lost too much weight to be a true blocking tight end, take a quick look at his Instagram or his newest photoshoot with the Bucs before saying he has gotten “too small.”
It is also no secret that Tom Brady loves throwing to tight ends. Brady didn’t have that top-tier tight end on his roster last season, and he has never had a tight end with the same physical talents as Howard.
If the Buccaneers can get O.J. Howard involved a bit more in the passing game next season, he has a real opportunity to emerge as one of the top players at his position across the league.