After being drafted in first round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Browns, David Njoku has improved steadily over his first two years in the league.
Is 2019 the year he breaks out?
Throughout 2018, Njoku was a clear favorite of quarterback Baker Mayfield, tallying 639 yards receiving, which was 8th among tight ends. Njoku’s 639 yards was also the 2nd-most receiving yards from a Brown in 2018.
Although the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. has, in all likelihood, made Njoku a third favorite target for Mayfield, it may prove advantageous for the third year man out of Miami.
Having the luxury of an elite receiver on the perimeter could potentially enable Njoku to take advantage of greater mismatches and become a bigger factor in the Browns offense.
Especially in end zone, with Beckham Jr. and Landry attracting the most attention, Njoku’s athleticism and ball skills are a incredibly useful asset to a Browns team that will find scoring opportunities plentiful. Njoku could prove pivotal for the Browns in the red zone.
Njoku’s promise is evident having tallied 1025 yards receiving, eight touchdowns in two years. That isn’t bad for the Browns or Njoku, but taking the next step is crucial if he and Freddie Kitchens’ offense wants to become unstoppable.
When asked as to whether he can become an elite tight end Njoku responded:
“I’d say yes, I want to be the best tight end I can be and if I do that, I think I’ll be okay.”Browns TE David Njoku
However, what separates good tight ends from elite tight ends is being able to impact the game in other areas such as blocking which is largely seen as Njoku’s biggest flaw so far in his career.
As a result, he has been working with Browns tight ends coach John Lilly to improve that part of his game. Lilly believes Njoku can be a great blocker.
“He can be a great blocker and be a great point of attack blocker if he wants to be and if I can get him there,” Lilly said. “He has all of that stuff. Whatever we have to do to score points, I do not care.”TE Coach John Lilly
Should Njoku improve become a more well-rounded tight end, the sky could be the limit for both the Browns and Njoku.