Leading up to the NFL Draft many teams will continue their evaluation process on prospects while altering their draft boards in preparation for Draft day. Couch Potato GM will provide you a breakdown of two prospects matched against each other with similar draft projections to get you prepped for the 2017 draft. Voting option below for your input on who you think the better prospect is.
The Matchup: It’s been a while since we have seen this many quality tight end prospects in the NFL Draft. The class is headlined by fan favorite O.J. Howard and the young Hurricane David Njoku. Howard’s popularity has been a mainstay for his entire career at the University of Alabama. He surprised many when he didn’t declare for the NFL Draft after his junior season last year, but Howard stayed in school to improve his run blocking prowess and now he is considered one of the best run blockers at the position. With the amount of love Howard gets from draft evaluators including CPGM, you would think that his receiving numbers were through the roof. At Bama Nick Saban utilized a more of a run heavy, power scheme which limited Howard’s receiving opportunities. Howard only had 14 catches in his freshman season, 17 as a sophomore, 38 as a junior and his collegiate high 45 as a senior. Despite the lack of production it shouldn’t be cause for concern as Howard is an athletic specimen that was criminally under-utilized as a receiver. Njoku comes from a very distinguished and accomplished family (doctors, educators, scientist, etc.) and is in line to be the next great tight end prospect from the University of Miami. The extremely athletic Njoku has many characteristics of his Hurricane family Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Shockey, Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham. He is a pass catching big bodied tight end who excels in the open field that can also come inline to bang with the lineman. We expect both tight end prospects to hear their names called in Round 1.
CPGM Headley’s Take: Before watching tape on these guys I believed O.J. Howard was far and away the better prospect due to my estimation that Howard has been the best tight end prospect in the country since his freshman season at Alabama. At Alabama Howard was used more as a blocking tight end; however, you can see his receiving talent oozing out every time he touches the football. I believe Howard possess one of the highest floors in the entire draft, making him one of the safest picks in April. David Njoku’s tape made me re-think my first statement regarding Howard being far and away the best prospect. Njoku has an eerie resemblance of “good” Vernon Davis with his athleticism and ability to stretch the defense vertically. Njoku is a good prospect who should be drafted in the first round but I still have to side with Howard due to him having more consistent hands than Njoku and his run blocking prowess. Howard is one of the best run blocking tight end in recent memory.
CPGM Drew’s Take: When talking O.J. Howard in my opinion he may be the most complete prospect in the draft, outside of maybe Rueben Foster. Only real issue I see with him is his sample size in the passing game. It’s a true mystery as well as a crime why he wasn’t used more at Alabama. Every time he was afforded the opportunity he produced and it was in a big way, both National Championship games for one. He specifically came back to school to improve his blocking and at the end of the day he did just that. Most TE’s are either a pure blocker/ HB type or a move TE that plays more slot and wide-out then in-line. Howard has the ability to do all the above. David Njoku is a very young player; being the youngest player at the combine and being one of the youngest players in the draft he has room to grow physically and mentally. He is one of the few who played in a pro-style offense and with his raw athleticism his ability to be a big time red zone threat makes Njoku a thought provoking prospect that is going to be a fantasy player’s dream as well as a QB’s best friend.
NFL Comparison: O.J. Howard – Greg Olsen; David Njoku – Vernon Davis