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O.J. Howard meets with Jaguars' Tom Coughlin, will visit Falcons

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Coming off his most significant week of pre-draft workouts and meetings since the NFL Scouting Combine in March, top tight end prospect O.J. Howard has one visit left before the draft begins on April 27 -- the Atlanta Falcons.

He'll head to Georgia having gained plenty of confidence over the previous 11 days that included an on-field workout with the Carolina Panthers led by tight ends coach Pete Hoener and expansive meetings with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. In both spots, Howard said, he met coaches, owners and general managers.

In Jacksonville, that included a chat with new executive vice president Tom Coughlin.

"We talked, we had lunch together and I had a good talk with coach Coughlin," Howard told NFL.com this week. He added: "We just talked football and talked about life. He came off as a very good guy."

After his visit with the Falcons, the fun can start.

Howard opted not to attend the NFL draft, which will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia, because the green room was too restrictive. Most of the 22 confirmed prospects will only be able to bring a handful of guests. Howard said that there were too many important people in his life, so his family is renting a venue near their home.

"It's in my best interest to have it back home, there's more people I get to spend time with," Howard said.

He's most excited to see the reaction of his parents, Lamesa and Kareem, who have always been supportive and by his side. He cares not about the venue's food selection for the evening, noting that he'll be a little too nervous to eat.

The admission was a surprising one for Howard given how unflappable he's been throughout the process. When asked about what it was like to bounce from meeting to meeting, Coughlin and Doug Marrone one day, John Fox another, Howard simply said "you just go in there and be yourself."

The finality of the draft, though, seems to bring out the paranoia in all of us. Howard has heard all the stories about prospects' phones not working the day of the draft and joked that "I've got two phones, and my agent has a phone" ready for when the call comes. He won't miss it.

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