The Buffalo Bills made it a priority to add depth behind starting tight end Dawson Knox this past offseason when they signed OJ Howard in free agency. The 27-year-old has the size to be a difference-maker on offense, but early reports out of minicamp suggest he is failing to impress.
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The Athletic's Joe Buscaglia reports that Howard has not looked like a dynamic pass-catcher so far and that "his movement skills are well below what Knox brings to the table." Despite being 6-foot-6 and weighing 250 pounds, Howard hasn't been taking advantage when facing smaller defenders.
The most worrisome thing here is that Buscaglia mentions Howard's route-running has been subpar. The Alabama product has not been quick in and out of his breaks. That gives him less of a chance to deceive his defender and become an open target for quarterback Josh Allen.
Howard came into the league as a highly-touted TE prospect. He accumulated 1,456 yards and 12 touchdowns in his first three seasons, but then tore his Achilles in 2020. The five-year pro only racked up 135 yards and 1 touchdown across 17 games played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021.
At the very least, Howard can be employed as Buffalo's blocking TE and a red-zone option. It could be a while before he excels in sets alongside Knox, though. That may not matter considering the Bills currently have the best odds to win Super Bowl 57 at +650, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
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