Raiders News: Las Vegas Signs Former 1st-Rounder TE O.J. Howard

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The most shocking move made by the Las Vegas Raiders so far this offseason was the decision to trade away tight end Darren Waller to the New York Giants. And even though Foster Moreau played solid last year, the deal does still leave a hole at the position for the Raiders overall.

The franchise could look toward the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft for help at the tight end position, but as of right now, the team appears to be moving forward with veteran O.J. Howard, according to Raiders Newswire’s own Ryan Ward.

#Raiders make it official that they’ve signed unrestricted free agent O.J. Howard.

— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardNFL) March 20, 2023

Howard was the 19th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in 2017 and spent the first five seasons of his career there before spending last season with the Houston Texans. At 6-foot-6 and 250 pounds with ridiculous athleticism for his size, Howard has always had a ton of potential but has never quite been able to live up to those lofty expectations.

Howard totaled 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons but has just six in the last four seasons combined. His best season came in 2018 when he finished with 34 catches for 565 yards and five touchdowns in just 10 games. Last year with the Texans he had just 10 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. But perhaps Josh McDaniels’ offense could be something that could allow him to flourish should he join the silver and black.

McDaniels has had success with big, athletic tight ends with the most notable being Rob Gronkowski. No one would expect Howard to suddenly become that, but McDaniels could surely make use of a weapon with Howard’s talents.

Of course, the draft always remains an option for the Raiders to bring in another tight end and that is one of the deepest positions in this year’s class. Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid, Georgia’s Darnell Washington and Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave could all go in the first two rounds of the draft and the Raiders might do well to grab one of them if they have the chance.

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