Cleveland Browns are betting big on David Njoku’s rise as an elite tight-end – Cleveland Browns blog

BEREA, Ohio — The fourth quarter of the last season's Week 5, 5 matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers, tight end David Njoku The receiver caught a pass from the middle of field, made a tackle, and ran 71 yard for a touchdown.

This play exemplified the potential Njoku showed throughout his five seasons with Cleveland, even though he has not been consistent. Browns believe Njoku will be a consistent and productive player in the future, and are now betting big on his potential.

Njoku was signed by Cleveland to a four year extension of almost $57million, with $28 million guaranteed. This contract made Njoku the fifth-highest-paid tight-end in the league.

His only task now is to produce on a weekly schedule like one of the league’s elites.

Andrew Berry, Browns general manager, noted that David's versatility in the pass and run game was a key component to our offensive system. His ability to create explosive plays using his speed and run-after catch ability, as well as his productivity as an opponent on the line, are rare qualities in one player.

“We have seen David grow over his time here, and we are excited to see him play his best football over several seasons.”

Njoku has had his ups and downs since the Browns chose him in the first round 2017 draft. He's had a mixed career to this point.

During his first three seasons, he had the highest drop rate (7.1%) of any tight end with at least 100 targets during that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. In 2019, he was plagued by injuries, underwent wrist surgery, and was basically a nonfactor. In 2020, he was limited to 29 targets throughout the season. This despite the Browns' offensive success. Njoku was only 22 percent of targets last year, despite what appeared to be a breakthrough performance in Los Angeles. After the Chargers match, Njoku was only targeted once more than four times.

As their offense evolves around a new quarterback Deshaun WatsonBrowns see Njoku (6'4″, 246-pound) as a bigger role in the passing attack, and perhaps even the No. The wide receiver is the 2nd option Amari Cooper.

Kevin Stefanski, coach, said that he would love to have him on the team. His skill set is, as we all know it, large and long in terms of catching footballs and being able go up and grab contested catches. David is a product of this evolution.

Njoku certainly has the skills to play a greater role. Njoku's ability to block for Cleveland running games — Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt describes Njoku as “one of best run-blocking tight end in the league” — while making plays downfield makes him an indispensable cog.

Njoku said, “I love blocking.” It was my passion. At one point it was all I was doing. I had two choices: either I could cry about it or slam people. I chose to block and now I like it.”

Njoku has the potential to be a great pass-catcher if the Browns have him on more occasions this season.

Njoku finished fourth in tight ends last season in receiving yards (475) and yards per catch (9.0).

Njoku stated that he feels like the only way to get there is up. “Keep accumulating good days, hardwork and perseverance.

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