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Profiling the Prospects: O.J. Howard poised to be mismatch nightmare

Over the next month, will break down some of the best players in this year's NFL Draft class and what they could bring to Cleveland's youth-laden roster.

Name: TE O.J. Howard, Alabama

Measurables: 6-foot-6, 251 pounds

What makes him a first-round pick?

In what's considered the best crop of tight ends in recent years, Howard has managed to separate himself from the pack with a superior blend of size and athleticism.

The Alabama standout was productive in college — totaling 114 catches for 1,726 yards and seven touchdowns over four seasons — but so much of his value is tied to how he might become a mismatch nightmare for opposing NFL defenses. Howard is built like a power forward with long arms and big hands and moves like a track athlete.'s Lance Zierlein wrote that "Howard has struggled to live up to hype that has come with his play-making ability while at Alabama, but some scouts put the blame on the staff and scheme. He has elite athletic traits and raw talent, but must add polish to go along with those attributes. Should become substantially more productive as a pro, but the difference between "potential weapon" and "elite tight end" will likely be tied to his desire and overall football character."’s Rob Rang added: "Despite his lack of production, Howard is considered the crown jewel in an exceptional class of tight ends. His experience in a pro-style offense suggests that he should be able to contribute immediately and he still possesses plenty of untapped potential."

Biggest college moment?

The 2015 national championship. Howard, who came to Tuscaloosa as a five-star recruit, lived up to that potential with a monster game against Clemson. He caught five passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns.

How did he do at the combine?

Howard showed off his athleticism in Indianapolis, clocking a 4.51-second 40-yard dash time, second to only Ole Miss' Evan Engram. Howard, though, led the tight ends in the 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill while posting 22 reps on the bench press, the third-most of anybody in the group.


Quote to know**

"I think I have a lot of athletic ability for the next level that can get used a lot. I can go out wide, I can make plays in the passing game, I can stay in and block . . . it's kind of rare to see a guy that's a three-down tight end nowadays. I think that's what I bring to the table."

Why he would make sense for the Browns?

Howard could offer the Browns an immediate offensive weapon in both the pass and run games. He's proven his worth as a receiver but often speaks of his pride in blocking, something that could go a long way in head coach Hue Jackson's run-oriented offense.

Reasons why he won't be available at No. 12?

Between his potential and production, Howard figures to be a playmaker in a league that's increasingly becoming more and more about mismatches. It wouldn't be a shock for a team to take him in the top 10.

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