Just when you thought the Cleveland Browns were done, they shook the football world and traded back into the first round, their third pick in the opening round. Who predicted three first rounders (sorry not bragging)? The Browns traded No. 33 and No. 108 to the Green Bay Packers for pick No.29, selecting tight end David Njoku of Miami (Florida). This addition adds a huge playmaker on offense. Njoku is a super athletic tight end who can really create mismatches on the field. Here is my breakdown on my No. 2 tight end and No. 14 overall player:
David Njoku is a freak athlete with the explosiveness to be a game changer as a tight end. He showed his explosiveness at the NFL Combine, jumping an impressive 37.5-inch vertical and a 133-inch broad jump, which both ranked in the top three of the tight ends group. He has great length, standing at 6-foot-4 and 35 ¼-inch arms. He also has good body control to position himself to make the catch. His explosiveness, length and body control shows up in his ball skills, leaping over defenders to outreach for a pass. His size and athleticism gives the quarterback a huge target with a gigantic catch radius, which makes him a redzone target. He runs like a receiver, able to run past defenders. He has fluid hips, which helps change directions well, which helps in route running and after the catch. As a receiver, he uses his speed to get separation from the coverage. He comes out of his breaks with good quickness and explosion. He is best after the catch. He has the speed, strength, balance and elusiveness to break tackles and extend a play. He is a big play receiver. Njoku is a willing blocker. He uses his arms well as a blocker, extending them against a defender to keep them away from his body.
Njoku has some flaws in his game. His biggest flaw is his blocking. He lacks bulk and strength in his frame and this shows up quite a bit in his blocking. He can struggle to keep his ground with the bigger defenders at the line of scrimmage. Even though he blocks with good arm extension, he struggles to put his hands in the right position on the blocker. He can aim too high or wide, causing the defender to get leverage on him or completely away from him. As a receiver, he can learn to better his route running and show more suddenness and crispness in the routes. Lastly, he has problems with drops, with most coming because of focus. He has strong and big hands. Nevertheless, he has the athleticism to be a mismatch and playmaker for a NFL offense.
Njoku notched 43 receptions for 698 yards and eight touchdowns in 13 games last season. Njoku is now the third tight end selected in the first round of the common draft era by the Browns, along with Kellen Winslow Jr. (2004) and Ozzie Newsome (1978). On an offense that lost a playmaker in Terrelle Pryor, Njoku is a big addition to the squad. He will come right in and be a playmaker to pair with Corey Coleman, Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson and Gary Barnidge, among others. The Miami star has so much potential too, being that he is only 20 years old. This gives the Browns three very exciting picks in the first round with the selection of Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and now Njoku. That is the first time a team has selected three times in round one since Minnesota in 2013. What a day!
Stay tuned to WFNY for more draft coverage both Friday night and Saturday afternoon.