Going into the draft, David Njoku was one of my favourite prospects. His college tape oozes and showcases the phenomenal athlete that he his. The Cleveland Browns selected Njoku with the 29th Pick in the draft. He offers something the Browns have lacked, deadly versatility on offense.
Overall the Browns had an impressive draft, adding Njoku makes it even better. Trading back into the 1st Round with the Packers, the Browns made sure they got their guy at 29. With the Browns in full rebuild mode, they could have selected any position with this pick and improved the team.
We all know what the Browns have been like in previous drafts. However, the recent changes in staff in 2016, with Hue Jackson leading the pack, the Browns appear to be set on a new course. A course that hopes to bring back the success they had in the past that featured great names such as Paul Brown, Otto Graham, Jim Brown, Ozzie Newsome, and so on. With this in mind, David Njoku is a great asset to have going forward. I was somewhat surprised to see Njoku drop to the 29th pick. I thought he was definitely the second best tight end in the draft, behind OJ Howard. The Browns must have ran that card in as soon as they saw Njoku was available.
During the 2016 season the Browns were ranked 30th in total offense, achieving 4976 net total yards and 264 points. Only the 49ers and Rams were ranked lower. They needed weapons on offense that could make the difference and they didn’t really have that in 2016. The main standout play on offense was Pryor and they lost him in free agency to the Redskins. With Corey Coleman set to have a more important role in the offense, the Browns were looking in other areas to make the difference. If you want a difference maker, you want David Njoku. During his two years at Miami he had 64 receptions, 1060 receiving yards, 16.6 average yards per reception, and 9 touchdowns. To put this into context, OJ Howard in his four years at Alabama had 114 receptions, 1726 receiving yards, 15.1 average yards per receptions, and 7 years. The fact that Njoku was able to put up those figures in two years is astonishing. It’s even more impressive when you take into account that he was regarded a wider receiver as recently as 2015.
In my draft profile on Njoku, I couldn’t help but highlight his athleticism. He is a freak in that regard. His ability to jump for and secure contested catches, leaping over players for touchdowns, shedding tacklers, and his grit and determination is second to none. In college the opposing teams struggled to contain him. A lot of this is down to his versatility when on the field. A mismatch that is extremely effective. NFL teams crave this ability. Anything that can put them at an advantage is obviously needed. I personally think Njoku is that guy. If Njoku can apply and develop on the impressive display he put up at college level and translate it to the NFL, he will be a success. The draw backs for Njoku mainly revolve around his drops at Miami and his blocking. The issue with blocking I feel is somewhat blown out of proportion, but it is an area of worry. Despite this, Njoku’s willingness to block and improve on this ability is a positive in itself. The dropped catches can generally be ironed out with the correct coaching. Njoku will prove to be a vital competent going into the 2017 season, and will provide the Browns with big target that can make the difference. Under Hue Jackson he could become something special.