Few players improved their NFL stock more than Alabama tight end O.J. Howard since the season ended three months ago. The senior always possessed the athleticism, size, and skills to be an elite tight end, but his workouts and interviews during the draft process moved him up to 19th overall.

On Thursday night, the Tampa Bay selected Howard with their first round pick, making him the first tight end taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was also the third Alabama player drafted, which is pretty impressive considering ESPN's Mel Kiper considered him the sixth best Crimson Tide prospect just a few months ago.

Howard will return to the same city that his college career ended just a few months ago. That championship game against Clemson was Howard's best game of the season (106 yards, one touchdown), and the Prattville native had a knack for stepping up on the biggest stage. He surpassed 100 yards receiving just twice the past two years and both times came in the national championship.

Alabama now has three players taken in the 2017 NFL Draft. Two more draftees would be a new school record in the first round.


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