Updated May 12, 2017
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
One of the surprise slides in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft was Alabama tight end O.J. Howard falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the 19th-overall pick. Most projections had the talented Howard going in the top 16, and around the league, he was considered to be one of the best tight ends to come into the NFL in many years. The Buccaneers were the fortunate team that had Howard fall into their lap, and he is a perfect fit in Tampa Bay. In speaking to sources with the Buccaneers, if Howard had gone off the board just before the Buccaneers' pick, their plan B was to select Florida State running back Dalvin Cook.
Here's how Buccaneer sources explained Tampa Bay's good fortune and what they were thinking, "Trubisky going 2 and then the other two quarterbacks going in the top 12 pushed guys down. There wasn't as much need for tight ends with the teams ahead of us, and typically tight ends don't go that high. We were lucky. If O.J. had been taken right before us Dalvin would've been the pick."
One of the potential landing spots for Howard was the Tennessee Titans. Sources with the Titans told WalterFootball.com days before the draft that the Titans were likely to go with an offensive weapon at five and a cornerback at 18. Howard was in the running for the Titans' pick at five along with Corey Davis and Mike Williams. Sources said Howard caused a discussion with Tennessee about taking him at 18. However, the Titans wanted to get a No. 1 corner. Alabama's Marlon Humphrey was a target, and sources said Adoree' Jackson was another top candidate. Hence, Jackson was slotted at 18 in our final 2017 NFL Mock Drafts, and Tennessee pulled the trigger on Jackson over Howard. If the Titans had deemed Howard too good to pass on at 18, Buccaneer sources said Dalvin Cook would have been their pick and that would have kept Cook from falling all the way to the 41st pick in the draft.