Howard has the prototype size for the tight end position (6’6, 250). With the frame to add five to ten more pounds if needed.
He has superior quickness for the TE position. You can consistently see him get up to the second level on blocks. He also demonstrated the ability to pull on power sweep plays and turn the corner and get out and stay out in front of the runner. Howard also possesses the ability to eat up the yards after catch in a hurry. You can really see his speed on display in the horizontal passing game and routes out into the flat.
Howard has a good grasp of the required blocking technique needed to play in line of the formation in the NFL. He displays loose hips when turning and sealing off the defender when engaged on a block as he does a really nice job of staying in relative position between the ball carrier and the defender. An example of this would be from the Texas A&M ’16 tape where he blocked the defensive end off the line turned his hips and sealed off the defender on a run play (1:05), demonstrating outstanding technique. Howard also is consistent with his pass pro sets when pass protecting. He keeps a good base, shoots his hands inside to the chest of the defender then resets and shoots again.
On all three 2016 tapes Howard demonstrates outstanding mental toughness. It just jumps off the tape that he is a well prepared player and focused on his assignment each and every play. It also should be noted that Alabama played him like a movable chess piece in that he was frequently positioned all over the formation. Whether it was from the slot, h-back on the wing, or in line, not only was he up to the task, but he executed his assignment with ease.
O.J. Howard has the secure sure hands your looking for in a pass catcher. He keeps focused on the catch and tracks the ball all the way to his hands. I did not see one drop from the 2016 tapes. What I did see was a phenomenal catch off a tip from a defender in front of him.