TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For any team that drafts former Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban believes they’ll get a complete football player.
Howard, a 6-foot-6, 251-pound freak of nature, is widely regarded as the top tight end prospect in this class.
Based on how the NFL is using tight ends, Saban believes the position is unique because it’s rare to find a player who can split out like a receiver, block on the line and “do things like a fullback.”
“To find a guy who can do all three of those things is really difficult, and O.J. is one of those guys who can do that,” Saban said during Alabama’s pro day. “I think you’re going to get a great receiver, but you’re also going to get a complete guy that can block well.
“I think he’s done really really well in how he’s represented himself at the combine and in these workouts.”
It’s hard to believe there is a player out there who has helped himself more during the pre-draft process than Howard. He had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl, then followed that with great numbers at the NFL Combine:
— Howard finished with the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash among tight ends at 4.51, a number Howard called “surprising.”
— He tied for third among tight ends with 22 reps on the bench press (225 pounds).
— Howard was the top tight end in the three-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and the 60-yard shuttle.
While Howard continues rising up mock draft boards, he isn’t allowing the attention to inflate his ego. Howard understands there is plenty more work to do between now and the draft.
“You got to know that my tight end class is full of talent,” Howard said. “No one is guaranteed a spot on draft night. We saw last year that anything can happen. Nothing is solidified until that night comes.”
The NFL Draft is scheduled for April 27-29.