Alabama’s Howard headlines tight ends Giants are paying attention to at NFL Scouting Combine

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Jan 26, 2017; Mobile, AL, USA; South squad tight end O.J. Howard of Alabama (88) tries to pull away from inside linebacker Ben Boulware of Clemson (middle) and cornerback Cameron Sutton of Tennessee (left) after catching a pass during Senior Bowl practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants will pay close attention to the tight ends as the NFL Scouting Combine gets underway at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Tight end is one of the positions the Giants desperately need help in. This year’s crop of tight ends is projected to be the best since the class of 2010 was headlined by Arizona’s Rob Gronkowski and Miami (FL)’s Jimmy Graham.


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The tight end teams are most smitten with Alabama’s O.J. Howard.

Howard has the size (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) and speed (his 40-yard time is expected to be in the 4.5-4.6 range) the Giants love. He also has soft hands and is an excellent blocker, something he has no qualms about doing.

In fact, Pro Football Focus rates Howard as the No. 1 blocking tight end in this year’s Draft. He can seal the edge in the running game and make an impact on zone blocking plays. He is what the Giants have been missing since Martellus Bennett suited up for Big Blue.

The Giants also love that Howard comes from a program like Alabama, where he regularly competed for championships. The problem is that he may not be on the board when the Giants pick 23rd in the first round.

They have not selected a tight end in the first round since picking Miami (FL)’s Jeremy Shockey 14th overall in 2002. Another Hurricanes tight end is on their radar if Howard is unavailable.

David Njoku has the size the Giants covet (6-foot-4, 245 pounds) but needs to run a 4.6 40 to prove he has the athleticism needed to be a threat down the seam and on vertical routes. His level of maturity come into question as he decided to forgo his final two years of collegiate eligibility to enter the draft.

The Giants are also keeping their eye on South Alabama’s Gerald Everett. Everett (6-foot-3, 235 pounds) began his career at Alabama-Birmingham before transferring to South Alabama after UAB disbanded their football program for the 2014-15 season. Everett decided to return for his senior season and caught the eye of many at the Senior Bowl.

The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, a former NFL scout said Everett “would crush it in the Giants’ offensive system surrounded by Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard”.

Senior Bowl executive director Phil Savage, former Cleveland Browns general manager and Baltimore Ravens head scout, said, “He’s got a pro body, physique…I think Gerald’s got an excellent chance to go within the first three rounds of the draft.”

Everett hopes the Giants will give him a chance.

“I have a couple of teams I’d like to play for,” Everett said. “But I’ll tell you the Giants are the top.”

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