What’s the general belief when it comes to rookie TEs? Don’t expect much production from them. Well if that’s the case, some sites are getting a bit ahead of themselves by listing rookie TE David Njoku as the starter in Cleveland. Granted, the Browns in a surprising move released Gary Barnidge in late April, but should we really expect a player as raw as Njoku to step in as the starter?
Here’s what NFL.com had to say in regards to Njoku…
Inexperienced at the position and still a work in progress. Needs to add to his play strength to handle in-line blocking as a pro. Don’t skip leg days, bro. Struggled badly to stay in front of Pitt powerhouse Ejuan Price. Hands too high and wide at point of attack. Inconsistent hands over two years at Miami. Focus drops were a problem. Had eight drops over last two seasons for drop rate over 11 percent. Speed allows him to uncover on downfield routes and hasn’t had to learn nuances of setting up defenders with route work. Needs to get head around and find ball quicker when working over top of linebacker.
Does that sound like a guy who’s expected to step in from Week 1 and contribute as a starter?
We’ve heard all about Njoku’s athleticism and how he’ll be a mismatch nightmare. Well, take a look at Njoku’s Combine results when compared to Seth DeValve’s pro day numbers. You’d be hard-pressed to call Njoku the better athlete.
Now, if I had to pick one for the long haul, it would definitely be Njoku. But for 2017, in both redraft and dynasty, DeValve is the guy you want. And the beauty of that is that DeValve is basically free in both formats. According to MFL’s current redraft ADP, Njoku is coming off the board at 10.04, while DeValve isn’t even listed in the top 250 players. And in MFL Public League drafts, Njoku is being taken at 13.04 and once again, DeValve is going undrafted.
As mismanaged as the Browns have been over the years, I doubt that they cut Barnidge to turn the starting TE job over to a rookie with as much to learn as Njoku. Don’t be surprised if by the end of 2017, DeValve has better numbers than Njoku.