Training camps are underway and we have come to the last installment of the “Who Deserves Your Rose” series. We have covered the quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. Now we are covering the least complicated of all the positions to evaluate for the Browns, the tight end. The team has several talented players at the position such as Darren Fells and Seth DeValve, who serve mainly as blocking tight ends. The man we will be strictly talking about is second year tight end “Chief” David Njoku.
Most rookie tight ends usually come in and make very little noise on the stat sheet, but in 2017 Njoku was a lone bright spot on a Browns squad that went winless. He finished last year with 60 targets, 32 catches, 386 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Those were solid numbers and more often than not the tight ends take a bigger jump there sophomore season. The man was able to push out those numbers all the while having a quarterback who turned the ball over a whopping 31 times. The team has made it a point to bring in new players at every position except tight end. This speaks volumes to what they see in Njoku and the plans they have for him.
What Njoku does best is make athletic plays downfield. He averaged over 12 yards per catch while also having several highlight reel catches that were nice on the eyes. He has the frame, 6’4” and 246 pounds, to be an ideal red zone target for the Browns. Also, he only had six drops on 60 targets, which was the ninth best rate in the league last year. Keep in mind this little tidbit as well: with all the weapons Cleveland added, he can benefit from less coverage with having both Gordon and Landry on the outside.
We touched base earlier on how horrendous the quarterback play was in Cleveland and they addressed that with veteran Tyrod Taylor. Njoku should be very happy the Browns brought him in because he has been very kind to his tight ends over his career. They average over 100 targets as a whole and over 600 receiving yards along with 6 touchdowns. With the uncertainty of Josh Gordon and the Browns potentially moving Jarvis Landry to the outside, expect Njoku to quickly become Taylor’s security blanket. Also, keep in mind that in the wings waiting to take the reigns of the franchise is Baker Mayfield. Baker was also liked to utilize his tight ends in college, utilizing them in short plays and stretching the field. This bodes well for Njoku’s career beyond 2018.
When we put together our team by team hot takes, the one made for the Browns was that Njoku will finish as a top three fantasy tight end. This is a crazy yet realistic possibility with the rate Rob Gronkowski goes down and with Travis Kelce getting a new quarterback we haven’t seen. He is in prime position to capitalize on all the targets he will have. When it comes to who deserves your fantasy rose, give the whole bouquet to David Njoku expecting big things in the immediate and the future.