Would Njoku Make The Detroit Lions’ Offense Better?
Although many Lions fans hate the idea of the team taking another round one tight end many mock drafts are predicting David Njoku to go to Detroit with the 21st pick. There are a lot of things to like about the redshirt sophomore out of the University of Miami.
Njoku is 6’4” and 246 lbs. He is an incredibly gifted athlete. There aren’t many linebackers or even safeties that can run with him and not many defensive backs are physical enough to defend him. As a former high school national high jump champion he can go up and get the ball over just about anybody.
At Miami, Njoku lined up all over the field. He played in-line, in the slot and on the outside. When facing zone he does a good job of finding the weak spot in the defense.
Also, Njoku does a pretty good job of creating separation. One way he does this is by using his hands against smaller defensive backs at the line of scrimmage. He’s able to push them around pretty easily. He can also create separation by accelerating out of breaks.
For a man as big as he is Njoku has outstanding body control. This helps him in the red zone where he has the potential to be a difference maker for the team that takes him in the draft. The tight end caught eight touchdowns in 2016.
At 20 years old Njoku is still very raw. There are a lot of areas of his game that need improvement. One of these areas is consistently catching the ball. His hands are pretty good overall but what he needs to fix is catching the ball before he thinks about turning up-field. Sometimes he gets ahead of himself and thinks about getting yards after the catch before he has actually made the catch. This leads to drops.
The biggest thing he will need to improve is blocking. The good news is that he is a willing blocker who has said it is something that he enjoys doing. He came to Miami as a wide receiver so he doesn’t have a lot of experience as a blocker. It is something he’s still learning and is obviously a work in progress. He will have to get stronger to be an effective in-line blocker as a pro. It’s possible that he could become a solid blocker in time but it is certainly not a guarantee and his future team will have to be patient with him in this area.
Lastly, he needs to refine his routes. Sometimes he relies on his athleticism to beat defenders. While that can work more often than not in college it will be less effective in the NFL. He needs to learn to set up defenders before making breaks.
Overall Njoku has a lot of promise as a prospect. He’s the type of guy a team will try to mold into a future all-pro. The physical tools are there for him to do that. However, he comes with risks. Promise and potential don’t always translate to a great player.
If he does become a Detroit Lion it would likely mean that he or Ebron spend a lot of time playing in the slot and attempting to replace what Anquan Boldin did for the team last season.
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