The Cleveland Browns have gone from being the laughing stock of the NFL to one of the serious contenders seemingly overnight this offseason. That is because they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. via trade to add onto an already potent offense.
Last season, the Browns finished with a record of 7-8-1 in 2018. They were led by rookies Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb on offense and both are positioned for another impressive campaign this year. Plus, the addition of Jarvis Landry paid huge dividends as well.
The defense showed their potential as well led by Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward. Cleveland was no longer a team you could chalk up a “W” against last year and have an even better roster this season.
Forgotten among the offensive weapons though is David Njoku. Njoku is going to be one of the most important pieces for the Browns in 2019.
Since being drafted by the Browns in 2017, Cleveland has had hopes of him being a weapon in their aerial attack.
For instance, last year he had 639 yards on 56 receptions and four touchdowns. Those numbers don’t jump off the page but he’s still developing as a player moving forward.
Coming into his third season, he has the best supporting cast that he’s had around him. Adding an All-Pro wideout like Odell takes a lot of pressure off of his fellow receivers. In that case, guys like Njoku and Landry are going to need to step up in a large way.
More so for Njoku though, as Landry has proven himself as one of the most talented receivers in the NFL already. The third-year tight end is hoping to break out this upcoming season and will be key to the Browns reaching their potential.
In his two seasons so far, Njoku has totaled 88 catches, 1,025 yards, and eight touchdowns. He’s primarily been used as a receiving threat—which is how he was used at the University of Miami.
In addition, Freddie Kitchens was hired as the new head coach this offseason. With this in mind, it’s expected that the offense will be the focal point for Cleveland this season. Granted, you have a guy like Mayfield under center so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Although, now Cleveland has an offense that is loaded with weapons at every position. At running back, you have Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and Duke Johnson. Then, at wide receiver, you have Beckham, Landry, Antonio Callaway, and Rashard Higgins.
Lastly, Njoku still figures to have a decent sized role within the offense. In the NFL now, teams are starting to utilize their tight ends more as bigger wide receivers basically. For instance, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle are used in that manner.
And last year, all of those guys had phenomenal years in the receiving department. In particular, all three of those tight ends had over 80 catches and 1,000 yards receiving for their respective offenses.
Many will say that Beckham, Landry, Chubb, and Mayfield are all the deciding factors to the Browns winning—which are true.
But Njoku may be the final factor that puts Cleveland over the top in terms of having a successful season in 2019.