ESPN’s Mel Kiper believes the New York Jets will do something unprecedented with the No. 6 overall pick.
Kiper projected Alabama tight end O.J. Howard to the Jets in his latest mock draft Wednesday. This would be a rare move by Gang Green, but it wouldn’t be the first time a tight end has gone that high. Vernon Davis (chosen by San Francisco in 2006) and Kellen Winslow Jr., (taken by the Cleveland Browns in 2004) were both taken sixth overall in their respective drafts.
Kiper views Howard as his top-ranked pass catcher in a 2017 NFL Draft class that has plenty of talent at tight end and wide receiver. Howard didn’t produce a ton at Alabama, but is viewed as a budding star. He caught 45 passes for 595 yards and 3 touchdowns last season for the Crimson Tide.
Howard cemented himself as the top tight end in the class with an excellent performance at the NFL Combine, during which he ran a 4.51-second 40-yard dash and was a top performer in the bench press, 3-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle.
The Jets essentially didn’t have a tight end last season and really haven’t had one for a few years now. Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Brandon Bostick combined to catch 18 passes last season.
New York needs a tight end, but Howard might not be worth the No. 6 overall pick. The Jets have plenty of pressing needs on both sides of the ball and while tight end is arguably the weakest, it’s probably not the most pertinent.
Want to learn more about Howard? Read our Future Jets scouting report of him right here.