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Jets Pick OJ Howard in Latest Mel Kiper 2017 Mock NFL Draft

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CFP National Championship Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. has a new mock draft out. He has a somewhat surprising pick for the Jets at 6.

6. New York Jets

O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

If the Jets are really going with Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg at quarterback, they're going to need someone to catch passes to try to score some points. At 6-6, 251 pounds, Howard is my top-ranked pass-catcher, even though he wasn't prolific for the Crimson Tide, with just seven touchdowns in his career. He has all of the athletic attributes of a top-tier player, though, and he was one of the most impressive prospects at the combine. There is precedence for a tight end going this high, too -- Vernon Davis (49ers in 2006) and Kellen Winslow Jr. (Browns in 2004) both went No. 6 overall.

So New York, New York becomes tight end, tight end.

There isn’t much doubt a player like Howard would fit a need. There might not have been a weaker position group in the NFL anywhere on the field than the Jets at tight end last season.

I recently have started to come around on Howard as a possibility with the sixth pick. He still wouldn’t be my first choice, but the more I have watched and thought about it, the more I feel like his relatively pedestrian production was a result of Alabama scaling back its passing game and not allowing him to maximize his talents. I am skeptical of many players whose stock rises after the games ends, but in Howard’s case, it might just be that people are getting a chance to see what he could have done in a system that didn’t constrain him.