He impressed head coach Dirk Koetter during rookie minicamp and organized team activities, but as of this weekend, Tampa Bay tight end O.J. Howard has struck a chord with his quarterback, Jameis Winston. Howard was selected 17th overall in the first round of the NFL Draft.
While Winston spent time with youth in his second annual Dream Forever Football Camp, the second-year signal caller entertained questions from NFL Network’s Tiffany Blackmon. Despite adding DeSean Jackson in free agency and already having tight end Cameron Brate on the roster, Winston took a lot of time expressing his happiness to have Howard as a Buccaneer.
“O.J., man, he’s a specimen,” Winston said per NFL.com’s Max Meyer.
“We’re privileged to have O.J. Howard. What he is going to do to that team is going to be amazing. This is the fastest, most athletic 6-6, 255 guy I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s unreal.”
Winston, who was a Heisman winner (2013) and BCS national champion at Florida State, has every right to be excited. Tampa Bay has compiled a roster around him that has the likes of Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and Josh Huff, to pair with Jackson, Brate and Howard. Multiple NFL Network analysts are picking the Buccaneers to win the NFC South and possibly a Super Bowl.
Before getting drafted, Howard was a matchup nightmare for defenses at Alabama.
He would improve as a blocker in the latter portion his career, but his pass-catching prowess became evident in marquee games. He totaled 114 receptions for 1,726 yards and seven touchdowns, including nine catches for 334 receiving yards and three scores in two College Football Playoff national title games.