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The Philadelphia Eagles Should Pass on TE OJ Howard

oj howard Photo Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end OJ Howard, coming out of Alabama, is widely ranked as the number one overall TE prospect in this year’s NFL draft class. Howard has been mocked anywhere in the top-25 picks of the first round of the NFL draft.

Some mock drafts have had the Philadelphia Eagles taking the highly ranked TE with their pick at 14. A portion of Eagles fans would love for the Birds to take Howard at 14 due to his potential and football skill set. However, there are a couple of issues that many have with the Eagles taking Howard at pick 14.

One of those issues is that Howard has some critical weaknesses that could strongly affect his potential and development as an NFL football player. Howard, while he has a lot of talent and athleticism to bring to the TE position, has shown signs of lacking that desire that is so crucial to making an elite player in the NFL. Many of the questions and concerns surrounding Howard seem often familiar to Eagles fans (think Danny Watkins), and the Eagles can’t afford to go down that road again. Also, the Eagles just don’t need a TE because they already have a talented group of players at the position.

Zach Ertz, a second-round pick in 2013 out of Stanford, leads the way and currently holds the starting tight end job for the Eagles. Ertz, in 2016, put together another good season, totaling 78 catches for 816 yards and 4 TD. Ertz is one of the more talented TE in the NFL, and he is able to consistently provide good production every season.

Behind Ertz in the rotation are a veteran, Brent Celek, and a younger player, Trey Burton. Celek can still bring it both as a blocker and as a receiver, but his time is dwindling down and many believe that he will soon be retiring. Burton, on the other hand, has only been in the NFL for four seasons and has shown the flashes (in 2016, 37 catches for 327 yards and a TD) that make the Eagles think that he could be a key piece to this team.

In addition to the Eagles not having a need for a TE, the Eagles are in a position where they need to hit on every one of their top draft picks if they are to build and succeed around young QB Carson Wentz. Drafting a TE, no matter how talented that player might be, would be a crucial mistake that the Eagles can’t afford to make. This team has holes at CB, DE, WR, RB and OL, and one of those needs to get addressed with the first-round pick that the Eagles have.

Howard, while being a nice player, is simply not one that the Eagles need at this time. Stay tuned and check out my scouting reports on targets that could interest the Eagles in the first round.

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