The Cleveland Browns are betting big on David Njoku and emerging as an elite tight end – Cleveland Browns Blog

BERIYA, Ohio – In the fourth quarter of the 5th week of last season against the Los Angeles Chargers, David Nojoku took a pass in the middle of the field, dropped a tackle and ran 71 yards for a touchdown.

One such play has shown the potential Njoku in its five seasons in Cleveland, albeit not consistently in those flashes. Now, Brown is making big bets on Njoku’s ability, believing that his continuity and productivity will come.

Last week, Cleveland signed Njoku to a four-year extension worth approximately $ 57 million, including a 28 million guarantee, a deal that made Njoku the league’s fifth-highest-paid tight end.

All that remains is for him to start production on a weekly basis, like the elite in the league.

Andrew Berry, Brown’s general manager, said: “David’s versatility in the run and pass game is a key element of our offensive system.” It’s hard.

“We’ve seen David grow here throughout his career and we look forward to seeing his best football for the next several seasons.”

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Njoku has experienced his moments since the Browns selected him in the first round of the 2017 draft. But so far his career has been uneven.

According to ESPN statistics and information research, in its first three seasons, it had the highest drop rate (7.1%) of any tight end with at least 100 goals in that period. In 2019, he underwent surgery on his wrist while fighting injuries and was essentially nonfact. In 2020, he had only 29 goals in the entire season, although the Browns offense increased. And last year, after a breakout performance in Los Angeles, the remaining Joko had only 22 receptions. In fact, after the Chargers game, he was targeted more than four times in a single game.

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But as his offense revolves around new quarterback Desh Watson, the Browns appear to be playing a more important role in the 6-foot-4, 246-pound Njoku passing game, perhaps the No. 2 option behind wide receiver Amri Cooper.

“Definitely want to feature him,” said coach Kevin Stephenski. “I think his skill set, as we all know, is a great size in terms of catching football and catching in battle. I think it’s a development that will continue for David. “

Njoku definitely has the skill set for a more important role. And his ability to block both for Cleveland’s formidable run-scoring game – Alex Van Pelt, Brown’s offensive coordinator, called Nozoku “one of the best run-blocking tight ends in the league” – and made him invaluable in playing downfield. Formed a team.

“I like to block,” Njoku said. “Honestly, I fell in love with him, because at one point, I really did, so I had two choices: I could either cry about it or slap people. I chose to block and I enjoyed it. Now he.”

There is reason to believe that if the Browns really gave him more features this season, he could also thrive as a Najoku pass-catcher.

Although he was out of the top 20 in the league last season in both catch (36) and receiving yards (475), Njoku was fourth per goal (9.0) and then fourth in yards. I was in the first place. Hold per reception (6.8).

“I think that’s the only way to get there,” Njoku said. “Good day, keep up the hard work and dedication.”

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