OJ Howard
Can we stop pretending that OJ Howard belongs in the Mike Evans and Chris Godwin class? Are we sure OJ Howard isn’t an outright bust? (Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

Tom Brady is going to the Bucs. The public has gotten really excited about what’s going to happen. Brady now gets to throw the ball to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and OJ Howard! Except there’s one problem with that. Why is everybody just throwing OJ Howard into that group? Why are people pretending that there is some sort of dangerous trio? Brady’s arrival has suddenly made Howard’s ability largely exaggerated. Here is the real question. Are we sure OJ Howard isn’t just an outright bust?

You can say whatever you want about Jameis Winston. What cannot be disputed is that he has helped his weapons achieve great production. It can’t be argued. Chris Godwin ranked 3rd in the NFL with 1,333 receiving yards at the wide receiver position. He didn’t just rank 3rd in yardage, He ranked 3rd while playing in 14 games. Mike Evans ranked 13th in yardage and played in 13 games. Godwin ranked 5th in touchdowns while Evans ranked 10th. Jameis Winston got them the ball and they produced. It can’t be argued.

Guess who has never produced? OJ Howard. The former first round pick from Alabama had 34 receptions for 459 yards and 1 touchdown in 2019. Often times Cameron Brate was the more reliable player. Bruce Arians even came out publically and said how Howard was basically a disappointment. Now I’m supposed to believe that’s going to change overnight? Why?

I went back to my draft grades when the Bucs took OJ Howard. I gave them a B+. The Chris Godwin pick probably brings that grade to where it deserves to be. I wrote an interesting statement in that post.

“The hope is that Howard develops into the next Gronk but there is also a chance he is the next Eric Ebron.”

Remember, back in 2017 Ebron was a total bust. Maybe Howard can turn his career around. He’s still young enough to do so (25). Still, there was a concern when he was at Alabama. He looked the part but never produced like a quality tight end in college. There’s a chance Howard never provides the kind of upside you need in the passing game. Nothing Howard has done to this point suggests he was worth a first round pick. I mean nothing.

Are we sure OJ Howard isn’t just an outright bust? Can we stop just looping Howard into the Godwin and Evans group like he’s on the same planet as those guys? Are we sure he’s even better than Cam Brate? There’a chance that Howard benefits from Brady throwing the ball shorter, but it will also cost Godwin and Evans serious production. If the Bucs actually want to make serious noise, it’s time for Howard to start playing like Gronk instead of Ebron.