2. A dependable player who fits scheme
The Browns had to do something about the tight end position, as the position group was an embarrassment in 2019. That’s not to take a shot at Ricky Seals-Jones. He did a solid job filling in for the injured Njoku, but he’s not a first-string tight end.
Now, the Browns are getting a dependable player, who at 25 years old, is still on the rise. Hooper caught 93.8 percent of his “catchable targets” the past two years while taking in 59 percent of contested targets. Both of those figures ranked second among tight ends, according to Pro Football Focus.
Adding another tight end also became a necessity based off Kevin Stefanski’s previous history calling plays.
In fact, Stefanski used three-receiver sets just 23 percent of time, the lowest figure in the NFL. He did this because he was deploying two-tight end sets. Remember, his offenses are run heavy behind a zone blocking scheme that sets up throws for its quarterback.
This doesn’t bode well for Rashard Higgins, who was a long shot to return, anyway.
Over the past two seasons, Hooper averaged 73 receptions and five touchdowns. Another stat you’ll like: Seventy-one of his 146 catches were for first downs.