The former first-round pick has yet to live up to his lofty potential, and doubts about him ever achieving said heights exist. Njoku is also the only player that former head coach Freddie Kitchens actually had issues with. David Njoku was plagued by injuries in 2019, then was deactivated by Freddie Kitchens when he finally healed.
Not Odell Beckham Jr. and his jewelry or even Myles Garrett trying to maim a man (though he was suspended by the league). No, it was Njoku and his attitude that prompted someone be deactivated. The culture needs changing. When talent is inactive due to interpersonal squabbles, it’s hard to argue against getting rid of them. Especially when the head coach had no ability to control anyone else on the team or instill discipline.
It’s not just that Njoku was inactive, but pile on the injuries and his lackluster performance in two of his three seasons and it’s not really a stretch to see why Njoku made the list. There are plenty of tight ends in the draft that can be had. The second round of the 2020 draft could be chock-filled with potential names. The Browns have a history of scouting and acquiring talented tight ends that weren’t first-rounders and watching them bloom to Pro Bowlers.
Since returning to the league in 1999, the Browns have three tight ends that reached the Pro Bowl, none of them went twice, and only one (Kellen Winslow Jr) was a first-rounder. The other two, Jordan Cameron and Gary Barnidge, were fourth and fifth-round picks respectively. While yes, the men that scouted those players are gone, the point is that the franchise has found high caliber talent in the past and can again. It should be noted that Barnidge was drafted by Carolina, but there are still talent scouts used in evaluating free agents.
Maybe it’s not fair to toss Njoku out with the Dorsey-bathwater, but Baker Mayfield needs a tight end that he can rely on, and so far for one reason or another, that’s not been Njoku. At least not in Cleveland.