Welcome to the 20/20 series. As part of our continued Dynasty Scouts coverage and in preparation for the NFL Combine, we’ll be profiling 20 of the top incoming rookies of the class of 2017 by giving you 20 facts you must know.
[am4show have=’g1;’ guest_error=’sub_message’ user_error=’sub_message’ ]
1.) Player Name – David Njoku
2.) College – Miami
3.) Height/Weight – 6’4″, 245 lbs
4.) Birth date – 7/10/96 (20)
5.) Class – Junior
6.) College stats – 2015: 21 catches, 362 yards and one touchdown, 2016: 43 catches, 698 yards and eight touchdowns
7.) NFL Draft round projection – Late first/early second. His projection in his own words was “top two rounds, early second”.
8.) Current NFL comp – The names most often associated with Njoku have been Greg Olsen and Jimmy Graham, and with his large frame and athleticism they both make sense. He was a receiver (and sometimes running back) in high school, is extremely athletic, and managed to hone his physical abilities enough for a productive college career.
9.) Best possible destination – A team with a good quarterback – a tight end is a quarterback’s best friend. While both Travis Kelce and Kyle Rudolph finished as the top two PPR tight ends in 2016 with average quarterback play, great quarterbacks can take tight ends to the next level. Towards the end of the first round, the Raiders, Cowboys and Steelers are attractive spots. Matt Miller’s latest mock has him going as high as 19 to Tampa Bay, and if he goes one spot higher, he’d end up with Marcus Mariota in Tennessee.
10.) Worst possible destination – With Houston’s sputtering offense and question marks at quarterback, Njoku might not see enough opportunities to make an impact. If he falls to the second round, Jacksonville could be tempted but I don’t have too much confidence in Blake Bortles. While we would expect the Browns, 49ers and Bears to grab new signal-callers, they may not be situations in which Njoku will thrive.
11.) Best current skill – His pure athletic ability and physicality. He’s a big, powerful man with speed. Teammate Brad Kaaya called him “a crazy athlete… a true freak” and Lance Zierlein describes his athleticism as “elite”. He shows it on the field with great game speed and power on the run.
12.) Skill that needs to be improved – Like many young tight ends and receivers, he could improve as a catcher. But (like many young tight ends and receivers), it really shouldn’t affect our view of him too much. Unless a player drops the ball enough to where coaches have to pull them out of the game and they lose a quarterback’s trust (and Njoku doesn’t), it’s not a problem. He’s actually very good at adjusting to the ball as well as wrestling it away from defenders, he can just lack focus at times. But hey, remember Mike Evans in 2015? It seemed to work out okay for him.
13.) Past/current rookie ADP – He’s 17th overall (TE3) in our rankings. The three big name tight ends (Njoku, Evan Engram and OJ Howard) are all grouped together at 15, 16 and 17, but that will change depending on draft position and situation.
14.) Projected dynasty value – The strong tight ends in this class all have the chance to break the top ten dynasty TEs if things fall their way on draft day. After the still-productive veterans in Olsen and Graham, we begin a more questionable tier of Zach Ertz, Eric Ebron, Delanie Walker and even Ladarius Green. I’d bet at least one of the three will crack this group by your rookie drafts. putting them around about the 100 mark in overall ADP. Njoku may reach it based on his combine performance alone.
15.) Small sample size – Njoku only played for two seasons in Miami, catching 64 balls for 1060 yards in just eight starts. Compared to Engram (four years, 162 receptions and 2320 yards) and Howard (four, 114 and 1762) he doesn’t have too much to show. But since we’re projecting and not reflecting, quality can be more important than quantity.
16.) Potential over production – For all the excitement about the athleticism and what he can do, Njoku only had over 86 yards in one game in his college career, and two games with more than five catches. Will NFL teams focus on the lack of production in Miami, or the potential fit for their teams? I’d bet on the latter, and considering his one huge 134-yard performance came on two catches (76 and 58-yard touchdowns), it’s hard not to get excited about the big-play ability.
17.) Youth – In addition to his lack experience, he is also the youngest tight end in the class. Howard and Engram are both 22, while Njoku is just 20 and had a dominant year in his age 19 season. He arrived at high school listed at 217 pounds, so could he grow into his 245 pound frame even more? It’s a scary thought.
18.) Getting physical – While it might seem I’ve sold Njoku completely as a receiving tight end, he can definitely get the job done as a blocker. He will learn to hone his technique and utilize his large frame even better with more coaching, but he is adept at taking the right angles, opening holes for runners and protecting his quarterback.
19.) Making the leap – Njoku can jump. He was a national high school high jump champion, and achieved a personal best of 2.09 metres in 2016 (which is very high). It certainly translates on to the field as he’s managed a couple of outstanding leaps into the end zone.
20.) Monster upside – NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah ranked him as the 13th best prospect overall in this draft. One team’s scout said “our TE coach said it’s the most upside he’s ever seen in a TE prospect“. Fran Duffy called him a “Pro Bowl talent“. There’s no denying that the sky is the limit for Njoku.
- 2022 Rookie Class: An Early Look at Kenny Pickett, QB Pittsburgh - January 31, 2022
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: Quez Watkins, WR PHI - July 15, 2020
- Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Update: John Hightower, WR PHI - July 7, 2020