O.J. Howard late in showing he’s a big-time prospect

Jan 11, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide tight end O.J. Howard (88) catches a touchdown pass against the Clemson Tigers in the third quarter in the 2016 CFP National Championship at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

In Alabama’s National Championship 45-40 win, running back Derrick Henry showed that he’s at least a late first round pick. He was huge with 35 carries for 158 yards and three TDs, including what turned out to be the game-winner. There were actually several other top NFL prospects on the field on Monday night.

And among them was among them was Henry’s teammate, tight end O.J. Howard. Howard didn’t have a lot of recognition coming in because he was used sparingly during the regular season. But on Monday, he showed that he had just as much talent as anyone that was on the field on Monday night.

He took advantage of some blown coverages while showing off his speed, and ability to run after the catch. On the day, Howard racked up more than 200 receiving yards and two touchdowns. And while he’s not known for his blocking, he threw the key kick-out block on Henry’s 50-yard touchdown run in the first half.

Making plays in the National Championship Game isn’t where it all started for Howard either. He also came up big a few times against Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl to help his team get there.  He didn’t have the opportunity to do a ton during the regular season but he showed he can take advantage of the opportunities he gets in big games.

And at the same time, the traits he displayed while coming up big in big games translate well to the NFL. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said and Monday, “His game translates beautifully to the NFL.” Howard had only 394 receiving yards this season entering the title game, and hadn’t caught a touchdown pass since 2013.

But Monday night, Howard went off for five catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns. So now, he has just a few days to decide if he wants to enter the 2016 NFL Draft while his name is hot off the presses. He looks like he’ll time well at the 2016 NFL Scouting combine too so he has a big decision to make.

The question is now is if he showed it on the field too late to be a 1st-round pick.

The talent is certainly there!