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Mocking The Draft: Alabama TE O.J. Howard to Giants in latest pre-combine mock

The Giants’ pick is pretty predictable, but will the Combine shake things up?

CFP National Championship Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The NFL Scouting Combine or, as it is (somewhat) affectionately known “The Underwear Olympics” is almost upon us.

The Combine kicks off on Tuesday with the first players arriving and going through a battery of medical tests. The on-field portion of the combine, that is, the part we all see and will talk endlessly about, gets started Friday with the offensive linemen, running backs, and specialists’ workouts.

Dan Kadar of SB Nation’s draft site, Mocking The Draft has released his pre-Combine first round mock draft. By now we should all have a pretty good idea of who to expect to be the New York Giants’ pick, and Dan doesn’t disappoint.

23. New York Giants: O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

It’s been mentioned plenty, but Howard’s usage at Alabama was inconsistent. How Howard explains his usage will be interesting. His timing numbers will be as well, because we know Miami’s athletic tight end David Njoku will right on Howard’s tail.

Raptor’s Take: At this point Howard is quickly becoming the new “SCHERFF!” But considering the Giants’ positional needs and his performance thus far in the draft process, it makes sense.

It’s boring and increasingly predictable, but it makes sense.

And Dan is right that Howard will have to answer to teams as to why he was rarely a factor in Alabama’s game plans. While the scouting community is abuzz over his performances in individual drills and 1-on-1 match-ups at the Senior Bowl, he will need to explain to teams why he has 7 career touchdowns, when Bucky Hodges and David Njoku have 7 and 8 touchdowns respectively last year. Box score scouting is always perilous, but production (good or bad) can’t be ignored.

He’s also right that Howard will have to perform on the field to keep holding off Njoku, Hodges, and the ultra-intriguing Adam Shaheen.