Rick Neuheisel: O.J. Howard Has Suspect Hands

April 28th, 2017

Deficiency detailed

O.J. Howard may be a perfect pick for your Buccaneers offense, but he’s an imperfect prospect.

That was the word from former college head coach, Ravens offensive coordinator and ex-NFL quarterback Rich Neuheisel on Sirius XM NFL Radio last night.

For those who don’t listen to the Todd Wright Fantasy Football Podcast every Friday on JoeBucsFan.com, it’s chock full of good NFL information. And it’s not just fantasy chatter.

Today, Todd explained he is not a big fan of the Howard pick because the Bucs have other needs. Todd also shared Neuheisel’s assessment that Howard’s hands aren’t clean because he has a bad habit of not catching balls cleanly.  It’s too often a bobble-first catch or just an unclean grab, Neuheisel believes, and Howard could get away with that in college but won’t nearly as often in the pros.

Hey, Joe’s not knocking Howard, just sharing credible information on the explosive 22-year-old from a run-heavy offense at Alabama.

Just out of curiosity, Joe looked at Howard’s NFL Scouting Combine highlights at NFL.com, and sure enough, you can see an example of what Neuheisel was talking about. (Video here.)

Even though the Bucs have a new tight ends coach with limited experience, Joe is confident the Bucs can coach that hiccup in Howard’s game out of him.

53 Responses to “Rick Neuheisel: O.J. Howard Has Suspect Hands”

  1. celly Says:

    Interestingly enough, watching his highlight video, you can see that he makes a lot of catches with his body. That’s not to say that he didn’t have some nice hands catches as well, but there were a LOT of balls he let get into his body.

  2. bucs_365 Says:

    If that’s an issue, I’m sure OC Todd Monken will put the focus on catching as he did with Mike Evans.

  3. Broy34 Says:

    Wow Joe give it a rest for the day. Dude is clean. Had one drop one bobble and Evans led the NFL in drops. LED THE NFL IN DROPS a year ago. Now is all pro. Gimme a break. Kids a freak and koetter and licht know it. You guys R boring me

  4. rayjay1122 Says:

    No worries. NFL coaching can correct that. It is no fluke that he was rated so high by most analysts.

  5. ARGH_M8E Says:


  6. Gencoimports Says:

    Yes, Todd, the Bucs have other needs. But your crazy if you think TE was not a need on this team (even Ali Marpet said it was) and Howard was the BPA. End of story.

  7. scott ledger Says:

    I know you need to create web hits and traffic…………. so……… #hallpass
    Ledge, don’t be an assbag. You think Joe should ignore the analysis of a respected football man talking on national radio about the new draft pick? This isn’t Buccaneers.com. Joe writes about what Joe finds interesting. That’s the rule here. “Hits” and “traffic” are the byproduct of that. It’s not the other way around.–Joe

  8. NJBucsFan Says:

    Other outlets disagree…talk about throwing crap against the wall. Rick Neuheisel hasn’t been relevant in years.

    According to Pro Football Focus’ draft guide, Howard caught 100-of-132 targets in his career at Alabama. In those 132 attempts, only six passes were considered drops by the analytics site. Having sure hands is another reason to be excited about Howard.

    Bucs selected Alabama TE O.J. Howard with the No. 19 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

    Howard (6’6/251) was a dominant combination tight end in Alabama’s pro-style offense, wrapping his career with a 114/1,726/7 (15.1 YPR) receiving line and earning PFF College’s No. 1 run-blocking grade in 2016. A truly dominant blocker, Howard’s tape reveals a fiercely physical player who seeks out contact in line and on the move. Athletically, Howard posted top-five SPARQ results among tight ends at the Combine with wideout-like 4.51 speed and a position-best 6.85 three-cone time. Howard dropped only three passes over his final two seasons and has been compared to Greg Olsen by our Josh Norris

  9. Ghingus Kwon Says:

    I have to say I really like what I see. I never really watched the dude before this video as i assumed we would never have a shot at him. If you told me he was a WR I would’ve believed you. I’m excited fo sho…simple as that

  10. DB55 Says:

    2 bad passes = 2 bad catches not 2 drops but catches. BRUH…..BRUH…go home joe, you’re drunk.

  11. BucswinBucswin Says:

    You should be embarrassed Joe. The whole town is celebrating the pick.. Nationally they are calling it the steal of the draft. He had like single digit drops his entire college career.. give it a rest. You are making yourself look foolish.

  12. The bucfan 88 Says:

    Ummm I predict Todd will have thiskid in the pro bowl with Jameis making his second appearance but to bad they won’t be at the pro bowl they will at a different bowl the super bowl

  13. ARGH_M8E Says:

    Just sat at the Tampa airport bar (that columbian place @gate E) anyways… nice gal from Bama says “He’s incredible”, and the video doesn’t lie. I’m ecstatic!!! Was last night too! Sick pick!!!

  14. Jason Says:

    And this is why I don’t listen to Todd’s podcasts… I did one time, and his “advice” was basic as heck, and he seems ignorant (see above). Meh.

  15. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Never heard of this guy honestly.

    Thank you NJBucsFan for the dose of reality. Just watched his highlights and not a single pass was bobbled and he high pointed plenty of balls and caught plenty in traffic looking like a man among boys.

    3 drops to 83 catches last 2 years and this guy is going to say he has bad hands because he saw a 30 sec combine video where he bobble’d one of the catches. Ok lol.

  16. FoamBucsFan Says:

    Dude had six drops in his entire career at Alabama. SIX.

  17. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    It’s really starting to get ridiculous. There is an insatiable market for draft news which sometimes produces stories of this nature.

    Sooner or later we’ll have a story about a guy who dropped down the draft board because he broke wind on the bench press at the combine disgusting all those in the area. The nitpicking is getting a bit ridiculous.

  18. LakeLandBuc Says:

    We can only wait and see if this is a good pick or not. So far it’s good on paper, let’s wait until week 9. Then we can give our mid-season evaluations.

  19. Mike Johnson Says:

    Who the F..cares’how he catches it..as long as he catches it!! One hand, fingers, bobble,swirls..Don’t give a deeyham if he catches it with his head..as long as he holds onto the ball. Seems like to me, he does a good job of doing that..however which way he can.

  20. NJBucsFan Says:

    @Lord – no problem. every now and again we need some real info to go with our fake news.

  21. Joseph Mamma Says:

    So according to this guy, we just drafted the Michael Clayton of tight ends.

  22. Drew Says:

    Joe is just mad they didn’t draft Cook. Like he was when they didn’t draft a certain QB.

  23. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Joseph Mamma Says:
    April 28th, 2017 at 4:53 pm
    So according to this guy, we just drafted the Michael Clayton of tight ends.”

    Except Clayton was 209 lbs and ran a 4.67 and OJ Howard is 250 running 4.5 and blocks like a RT. Even if his hands sucked holy sh1t compared to Clayton

    I can’t get over it!

  24. Blake_bucsfan Says:


    I look foward to having many hearty chuckle at your passive aggressive O.J. disses Joe (Lee).

    Which sucks because I have always respected you as a writer up until all this nonsense surfaced, you have been trying to convince everyone that this would be a terrible pick that wouldn’t happen for months now.

    And I just don’t understand why it’s so hard for you to grasp how lethal our offense is going to be deploying a healthy dose of 12 personnel.

    I have faith that you’ll come around to your good senses soon enough.

    Go Bucs.

  25. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    He dropped like 2 passes out of 150 something! Stop your crying we will pass on fumble prone cook again!

  26. RAS Says:

    I remember watching the senior bowl practices and the dude was making one handed catches like it was easy.

  27. theodore Says:

    What an awful “highlight” reel, all those catches and fast runs. Doesn’t he know he’ll be blocking for 2 yard Doug Martin runs?

  28. Eric Says:

    Bobble icon?

  29. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    And btw, concentration drops were somewhat of a problem for O.J. early in his collegiate career, as was not being the best blocker.

    He improved immensely in both areas during his senior season, and flat out took over big games, starting with the 2016 natty.

  30. Oj Got The Juice Man Says:

    @Mike Johnson LMAO.
    I feel the exact same way man. Same logic applies with winning football games. I dint care how ugly it gets, just as long as they end in W’s. Oj is the second coming of Tony Gonzalez. Koetter knows it, I know it.

  31. Joe Says:

    Sorry you folks have either troubled reading comprehension or expect to see Joe wearing a cheerleading suit at all times. Keep reading between the lines (as in what’s not written in the published story) and you’ll be wrong every time. –Joe

  32. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Todd Wright is Todd Wrong here. You have to realize at the combine, he’s playing catch with someone he’s never played catch with before, and that not all the balls he bobbled were quote unquote “good throws”. Monken is an excellent coach, and players in the NFL will have far more time to hone their craft (ala the fundamentals) than amateur college athletes.

  33. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    I’m a Nole, and I’m a bit saddened that Cook won’t be a buc. That being said I am EXTREMELY HAPPY that OJ is a buc. He is one of the few “Blue Chip” prospects in this draft and it is amazing that we got him at 19. Tonight should be BPA
    In Licht I Trust

  34. feelthepewterpower Says:

    And when you draft for need it often lands a team in trouble. Howard is a generational type player who was severely underutilized in Alabama. You don’t pass on a kid of this magnitude. The Buccaneers employ many two-te sets and when Brate went down vs. NOLA they had no one to fill-in for Brate at his production level or above.

  35. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    And at least we aren’t DA BEARS! Lol

  36. John Says:

    Joe – putting up this article when we got the steal of the draft really pisses me off. I know that you as well as several other readers of this site wanted Dalvin Cook. However, to find this “Elite” athlete available which was a +11 on value sheets across the board is just ridiculous. I could not agree more with Stpetebucsfa comments.

    We are looking at an unstoppable force with the group of individuals which is being created. In case anyone is asleep at the wheel, we now have a two tight-end alignment. For those of you that may be asking what this advantage has, it is the same alignment that the New England Patriots have been using since their success. And they have done pretty well.

    For crying out loud, and a huge wake up call to the Dalvin Cook lovers out there, If we have an “Elite” passing force in place with this draft pick, you don’t necessarily have to have an “Elite” Running Back. Again look at the New England Patriots and what they did with our former player who was washed up by the name of Legarrette Blount.

    I apologize to all of you out their with your opinions that differ from mine. I did not mean to offend anyone. But dammit, this is the greatest pick that fell to our laps in years. After all of the bad luck that we have had in years past, maybe, and just MAYBE, it is our time to get a few breaks and give everyone in our community a reason to cheer again.

    Wish List — A quarterback that we could get in the 4th round by the name of Josh Dobbs.

    Thank you for reading my rant,

  37. Cash Says:

    LMAO… undisputed best tight end in the draft who dropped 6 passes his entire college career falls to the Bucs significantly lower than could have reasonably been expected and we are supposed to temper optimism because Rick Nueheisel says he has bad hands? Man please.

  38. Tnew Says:

    Exhibit A:


  39. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “O.J. Howard Has Suspect Hands”

    Yeah…suspected of scoring touchdowns!

  40. Mike Evans GOAT Says:

    Packers want Kevin king or cook if they don’t move back

  41. Skipper Says:

    Heard today on sports radio that Howard only dropped 6 passes in his entire career at Bama.
    Awesome. This post wasn’t about drops.–Joe

  42. Viejo_Sombrero19 Says:

    Joe you can defend the need to generate stories but like less the 24 hrs after the draft of OJ Howard we are writing an article criticizing his game EVEN THOUGH no one anywhere in the MILKY WAY!!!! Thought he was anything less than a top 12 player overall!!!! OMGOSH BRAH leave the kid alone at least you could have saved this story for training camp. man
    Did you really read the story? Joe doesn’t think so. Joe’s written maybe 9 positive posts on Howard, and this one is more informational than anything else. Please. –Joe

  43. Viejo_Sombrero19 Says:

    Oh and you don’t have to send me a reply I’ll save you the trouble. Joe Bucs fan thinks I’m an “Assbag” btw an “Assbag” ? What is that? Do people put bags on there ass ever?
    Joe knows Ledge, so Joe can call him an assbag..–Joe

  44. Viejo_Sombrero19 Says:

    Ok at least Joe is confident the Bucs can coach that out of him Which is something we all should be confident of. Whoever wrote that the Todd guy is an idiot

  45. JabooBuc Says:

    Joe, you are and have been flat out wrong about this pick from the beginning. 2 TE sets create mismatches in the passing game and running game. I wanted Dalvin Cook too only because I thought this pick was not a possibility. Our line and QB become better with this pick. You are missing the boat here.

  46. Pick6 Says:

    if that is his major flaw, we are doing great. we appear to have gotten an extremely coachable kid who comes with an extremely coachable weakness.

  47. Pickgrin Says:

    Yea and Winston supposedly had an ugly drop back and a pitcher’s delivery coming out as well. No prospect is perfect. But when you display greatness and it comes with relative ease at times at the College level – then you are destined to have a good NFL career and potentially a special one.

    Hard work and focus on constantly improving is the key to greatness when one possesses top 10 level talent. Howard will join Winston and Evans in that relentless pursuit seamlessly.

    We are blessed. These 3 players are quite the cornerstones to build a dynamic offense around!

  48. DoNUTS Says:

    Rick N has not coached in 6 years; was let go from UCLA after 3 years tenure. Go look at his credentials…he was a flash in the pan 10 years ago at Colorado when I first heard of him. JBF might as well post my opinion. lol Lets not get crazy…

    Enjoy the draft tonight everyone…this is where the CHAMPIONSHIP teams are made and the NFL separates the men from the boys. These 3 rounds right here.

    Its ON! Go BUCS!

  49. DavidBugBucsfan99 Says:

    Man Joe I haven’t seen you slap people around like you did in this article. People acting like you wrote it when you’re just telling about the original author. It’s not like you wrote how great the oline(it sucked!) was like you’re always doing. People need to realize there’s 2 of yall so maybe you guys should go by Joe1 and Joe2 so folks don’t get confused. People got to be more careful Joe (s) don’t play around!

  50. tnew Says:

    I think Neuheisel’s take was just to get him attention. When you look at every other evaluation his hands are described as “great” or “reliable” In truth he is a natural hands catcher of the ball. Just go watch the Stack video I posted earlier. 60 mph, from a Jugs machine at less than 10 yards. For the record, 60 mph is John Elway territory .

    He drops two passes at the combine and its a “concern” give me a break. Suggestion: don’t watch Dalvin Cook’s pass catching drills at the combine if that is the case.

  51. tnew Says:

    I didn’t notice it at first but scroll down below the jugs video and watch him flip and catch a 55 lb plate with one hand. I’ve personally done this with a 25 pound plate. It seems super human to do this with a 55.

  52. Bucamania Says:

    Yeah ok, 2 drops all last year. Haters gonna hate. OJ is gonna terrorize the NFC South for years brother!

  53. JimmyJack Says:

    I heard a few talking heads say he had good hands. They gave no detail really so the could have just been blowing smoke like they love to do.

    Really hope this guy develops hands. Dropped balls are the biggest pet peeve of this here Monday morn HC.