Now that quarterback Tyrod Taylor is officially returning to the Buffalo Bills, the Bills will presumably shift their focus to finding Taylor some receiving play-makers to replace the gaping holes left behind with the departures of Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin, as well as Justin Hunter, who is currently being courted by several teams himself.
The Bills need to make a splash and get a sexy name at receiver. At this point with all of the premier free agents having already signed with other teams, the upcoming draft is really their only option. Other than QB, the second-most popular pick for the Bills at No. 10 overall in mock drafts has been either one of the perceived top two prizes at wide receiver: Clemson’s Mike Williams and Western Michigan’s Corey Davis. Both are great, big pass catchers who seem primed to make an impact right away, but what about the Bills taking a tight end with that pick instead? Say Alabama’s O.J. Howard? In today’s NFL, most of the incoming tight ends essentially become wide receivers once they hit the league anyway, because of the continuing evolution of the passing game.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, citing a scouting contact associated with the Bills, says that the team loves Howard as a player. Take that how you will, but there really are a bunch of aspects to Howard’s game that teams would love. First and foremost, Howard has the size that teams covet at that position (6’6”, 251 lbs), and he has speed that will make them drool (4.51 40-yard dash). He played four years for Nick Saban at Alabama, and with their run-heavy offense, teams can be assured Howard can hold his own when blocking in the trenches.
Currently, the Bills No. 1 TE is Charles Clay, who has a $9 million cap hit in 2017 and will continue to have one at that value through the 2019 season. Howard would be a significantly cheaper option, and next season he could conceivably come close to matching Clay’s lackluster production thus far throughout his tenure in Buffalo. At the very least, Howard would add some much needed speed to the Bills receiving corps.