#29: TE, David Njoku, Miami

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NorthCoastBias

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ill be optimistic if his rookie season is comparable to Richard Jefferson's. If he can pull that off, you have to like where you are with him.
RJ played in the Finals his first year in the league. Super Bowl, here we come!!! :chuckle::chuckle::chuckle::chuckle:
 

mds

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As a receiving threat, he could be top 10. As a complete TE, probably top 20.
Are we seriously calling a 20 year old rookie without a snap in the NFL a top 20 player? Asking for a friend.
 

Cavsfan1985

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Are we seriously calling a 20 year old rookie without a snap in the NFL a top 20 player? Asking for a friend.

Well if you figure there are 32 starting TE's, it is that much of a stretch to say he could be around 20 if he does start for us?
 

FiveThous

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I love Njoku as much as anyone on this board, I'm really not expecting him to start until after the bye week. If he starts before that great. I think we will see DeValve with the starting nod at first.
 

Lee

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I love Njoku as much as anyone on this board, I'm really not expecting him to start until after the bye week. If he starts before that great. I think we will see DeValve with the starting nod at first.

He might start by default because we got rid of Barnidge and Devalve probably isnt any better.
 

TopGun

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Are we seriously calling a 20 year old rookie without a snap in the NFL a top 20 player? Asking for a friend.

Can you name 20 tight ends you would rather have?
 

mds

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Can you name 20 tight ends you would rather have?
I mean, like the dude is 20 and never played one minute of NFL football and has been a TE for like an hour and a half. Seems early to call to me but I certainly want him to be the greatest athlete on this planet or any other.
 

TopGun

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I mean, like the dude is 20 and never played one minute of NFL football and has been a TE for like an hour and a half. Seems early to call to me but I certainly want him to be the greatest athlete on this planet or any other.

So in a 20-team fantasy football draft Njoku would not be one of the TEs drafted? I highly doubt that.
 

Triplethreat

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So in a 20-team fantasy football draft Njoku would not be one of the TEs drafted? I highly doubt that.

He'll be the TE I draft in my 12 teamer late. Not big into investing into TE's high, and he has so much potential.
 

mds

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So in a 20-team fantasy football draft Njoku would not be one of the TEs drafted? I highly doubt that.
If I was in a 32 team professional football league in North America, yes, I would draft him.
 

Triplethreat

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Anyone mind posting Fox's The Athletic breakdown on Njoku?
 

dark2332

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Anyone mind posting Fox's The Athletic breakdown on Njoku?

Sure. From The Athletic...

(Note: They've done an excellent job so far, so for those interested, it may be a worthwhile investment)


Fox’s film room: Don’t freak out, but David Njoku really is special
by Dustin Fox, 3 hours ago

Freak. Nothing else. Plain and simple, “Freak.”

I talked to a lot of scouts around the league, and this particular one-word response about first-round draft pick, David Njoku, got me all fired up. This physical specimen, hailing from ‘The U,’ has all the right attributes to come in and make the Browns offense special immediately.

And I know I’m not the only one thinking this way. Hue Jackson is desperate for playmakers on offense, and I think he has a great one here with a ton of upside. With only having two years of experience at the position and being a young player (20 years old), Njoku could be considered by some as a bit of a risk, but I like him. I found myself giddy watching his film because there were a lot of ‘wow” moments. I’m going to take you through some of the things he does well and also point out some of the flaws I see in his game, which can be corrected with experience at this level. Zac Jackson wrote about Njoku yesterday and the adjustments he will need to make. OK, enough with the fluff, let’s dive in.

Big plays

Nearly 20 percent of Njoku’s career catches went for more than 30 yards. That is just insane for a tight end. In this modern NFL, tight ends have become even more valuable because of mismatches. Njoku is a match-up nightmare. Here, Njoku lines up in the slot and runs a basic seam route. You can see the defender miss his re-route, and Njoku just flies down the seam, outrunning the middle-field safety. His speed is something that jumps out on tape.

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Another example of his speed can be found in this clip. Miami lines him up in the backfield as an H-back and runs a similar seam route. He’s just too fast for a defense to allow a free release down the field. The quarterback is under pressure so the ball is underthrown a bit, but this should have been an easy touchdown.

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Strength and athleticism

This next play shows Njoku lined up in a more traditional role. Miami’s offense comes out in 11 personnel. That means one tight end, one running back, and three wide receivers. This is a short yardage situation where the Pitt defense is expecting a run. Instead, Miami runs a naked boot where Njoku leaks out late to provide a safety valve for Brad Kaaya. He shows his tremendous athleticism at the end when he finishes the play by diving into the end zone.

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Miami again uses Njoku as a hybrid here by splitting him out in the slot. Miami wants to get him the ball in space because they know what a nightmare it is to tackle him on the perimeter. He runs a bubble route where it forces the DB to make a tackle in space. Good luck with that.

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Red zone

At 6-foot-4, 250 pounds with a 37.5 inch vertical, he will be a primary target for the Browns when they approach the red zone. A quarterback’s best friend is a big target deep in the opponent’s territory. Here is an example of how he can use his size and leaping ability to go up and make a play over a defender.

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Here is one other example of how he can be used in the red zone. Njoku lines up in the slot and Virginia tries to double the vertical route, which allows him to be matched up on a linebacker. Again another easy touchdown.

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Blocking

This is one area that Njoku needs to improve. As I mentioned earlier, he is not a perfect prospect and this is one aspect of his game that will get better with experience. As you can see in this next clip, he needs to work on his leverage and hand placement. (He could probably use some more time in the weight room, too.)

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Drops

According to NFL.com, Njoku had a drop rate of 11 percent during the past two seasons. This is a bit of a concern because a lot of the drops he had were just concentration issues. Here is an example of what should have been an easy catch-and-run, but it ends up in an incomplete pass.

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In the end, I believe that Njoku has the chance to become one of the better tight ends in this league. In an offense that will be dynamic and creative, he gives Jackson a lot of flexibility, especially in the red zone where it counts the most. I still think he needs to develop his lower body strength so that he can provide some production in the run game. Let’s be honest, though. He wasn’t drafted in the first round to be a run blocker. He was drafted to be a touchdown maker. At just 20 years of age, David Njoku is just scratching the surface of how great he can be.
 
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