2017 NFL Scouting Combine: TE Athleticism Analysis

Tight end is all about speed when it comes to the statistically most relevant time at the Combine. And this Combine was the most satisfying when it comes to hitting that speed mark. The majority of the tight ends at the Combine hit a very high speed score, adding to the argument that as much as some call the running back group historic. This tight end group might be a generational class. But before I get ahead of myself here is the tight end chart.


The tight ends to hit every minimum All-Pro and Pro Bowl athletic trait are as follows:

  1. Adam Sheehan
  2. Bucky Hodges
  3. Darrell Daniels
  4. David Njoku
  5. Evan Engram
  6. Jonnu Smith

Which brings us to O.J. Howard. Howard passed the speed and flexibility thresholds, but he didn’t pass the explosiveness testing for an All-Pro or Pro Bowl player. This doesn’t mean Howard will be a bust. However, it calls into question if we are overhyping him a bit as a generational tight end. Especially when you add his below average market share production at Alabama. He can improve his vertical and broad jump at his Pro Day.

But at least what I’m saying is I was skeptical that O.J. Howard was a good, but not great player before the Combine due to his lack of explosiveness. And his testing is starting to show my concerns. He’s going to be a good player. However, he just doesn’t have the combination of metric traits that multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl players had going as far back as 1963. This is why you should temper your expectations for him at the next level.

There is enough doubt from film, his production and testing to say taking him in the top 10 of the draft over many other outstanding players is ill advised. Especially when you have other tight ends with better traits and are less murky projections. Howard is going to be a good tight end in the NFL. But there is a lot of data contradicting the claim that he is the best tight end in the class.

This concludes the tight end group. I will be waiting on the DL and LB group numbers to trickle out of Indy. And I will probably not post again until the agility scores are leaked for those guys tomorrow.


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