If no other reason dissuades the Chicago Bears from even considering OJ Howard at #3, the depth of the draft at other positions should do the trick.
The Bears arguably need the following positions more than TE:
- Free Safety
- 5T Defensive End
- Offensive Tackle
There is a viable star at all five positions.
Whether it’s Jamal Adams from LSU or Malik Hooker from Ohio State, either would be a huge upgrade at FS. All Bears’ fans are tired of watching Olivia Munn’s boyfriend throw it deep on a Bears’ FS who appears completely lost.
Arguing Adams or Hooker is semantics, because either is better than OJ Howard, and either would provide a more significant upgrade at safety than Howard would at TE.
There have been millions of articles about the crop of QBs coming into the NFL draft. Many recent rumors from insiders have pointed to Deshaun Watson from Clemson. There are fans of DeShone Kizer and Mitch Trubisky for various reasons. All three would likely have a bigger long-term impact than O. J. Howard. Watson’s collegiate performance can’t be ignored. Kizer’s body of work isn’t as impressive, but by all accounts he was working with a pretty weak group at Notre Dame. And Trubisky may only be a one year wonder, but his QB stats stand up pretty well against Howard’s paltry three TDs from the TE position.
5T Defensive End
Jonathan Allen and Solomon Thomas are better prospects than OJ Howard. Take your pick, and there is no doubt they start immediately over Mitch Unrein. Howard, however, would at best split time with the other two TEs, and isn’t nearly the talent either Allen or Thomas are.
Marshon Lattimore should not be the choice at #3, but if it’s between him and Howard, then Lattimore is the easy choice.
The NFL world is increasingly pass-heavy, and most defenses need three legitimate CBs to avoid getting torched. Currently the Bears have a variety of talent, but even the biggest Kool-Aid drinker would be hard pressed to say three solid starters are on the roster.
No real options for tackle are there for the Chicago Bears at #3, but it is a lot more common for a tackle to get drafted early than it is for a tight end. In the last four years alone, there have been ten OTs drafted in the top ten. Having a dominating offensive line allows for not only lesser talent at skill positions like WR and TE, but it also opens up the possibility of a rookie QB excelling like Dak Prescott did last year.
Long story short, the Bears have a huge decision to make, and it would be wise to steer clear of a TE who isn’t better than his peers at TE or the players available at other positions. Considering the cost will be a first round pick, and minimal team need, picking OJ Howard in the first round would be a horrible move.