TAMPA – The Buccaneers surprised and perhaps even disappointed a lot of their fans during the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night when they selected tight end O.J. Howard 19th overall.
The belief all along among most fans and draft analysts was that the Bucs would spend that pick on Florida State running back Dalvin Cook but the team instead took the top tight end in the draft.
The 6-foot-5, 251-pound Howard fills the hole the Bucs created when they dumped tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins last October after he was arrested on a DUI charge he later pled out of.
The addition of Howard, who was projected as a top-10 pick by most scouts and analysts gives the Bucs a true Y-type tight end to pair with Cameron Brate, who is considered more of an F-type.
The difference? A Y-type is a strong in-line blocker and pass catcher capable of helping the running game just as much as he can the passing game. An F-type is primarily a pass catcher.
“The true Y-type tight ends are a dying breed in college football, whereas in the NFL it’s still one of the best weapons you can have,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.
“So here’s a guy that has the speed to run down the seam and the power to block a defensive end at the line of scrimmage. There’s just not that many of those guys around.
“And on first- and second-down in particular most teams would prefer to be in two tight end sets or one tight end and a fullback or what we call 12 personnel, and Cam is an excellent pass catching tight end.
“And this will help Cam, but a lot of these F-type tight ends that are not quite as good a blocker at the point of attack make it harder to run the ball whereas O.J, he can do everything we need a tight end to do.’’