The Cleveland Browns should seriously consider playing tight end David Njoku as a wide receiver or in the slot for the 2020 season.
At this point, the Cleveland Browns should just move David Njoku to wide receiver. They might as well, as the Browns receiving depth is pretty thin and the tight ends are not. Rashard Higgins is expected to be the third guy out there, but what does that even look like? He had a good 2018 and that’s it. The same thing can be said about Njoku. Plus Njoku is bigger, younger, and arguably has better hands.
What about his speed, though? If you think Njoku isn’t fast enough to play by the boundaries, keep this in mind; Njoku runs an almost identical 40-yard dash as Higgins. Both men run a 4.60+ 40-yard dash. Higgins is a good 6’1 for a receiver. Njoku’s a mediocre 6’4 for a tight end. Njoku as a wideout should be tested as a theory.
It’s not a crazy idea. Guys have changed positions all the time in the NFL. Sometimes it’s with poor results, like Eric Crouch going from quarterback to safety. Other times it works, like Terrelle Pryor going from quarterback to wide receiver.
Fans and pundits alike keep bloviating about Njoku’s athleticism but that’s mostly what people mention. That and his “untapped potential”. So instead of watching another year of Njoku getting blown up on the line-of-scrimmage play after play in a run-first offense, try putting Njoku out there against corners and safeties instead. Against the secondary and even the linebackers, Njoku would fair much better as a blocker. Asking him to potentially handle Jadeveon Clowney two games a year is a nightmare scenario for many fans.
What’s the worst thing that happens, the Browns will cut him and his career will fail to ever develop fully? Isn’t that already happening?
The Browns are going ahead with five tight ends for some ungodly reason, so it’s not at all out of the realm of possibility that Njoku doesn’t stay on the team for long anyway. Harrison Bryant outplayed him and should be the second tight end on the depth chart behind Austin Hooper. Both men had stellar camps where they were healthy and efficient.
Njoku was neither of those things.
To make matters even more complicated, when you have Pharaoh Brown on your roster, a predominantly run-first blocker, with attitude issues, you know that your place is not secured if you share a position with him. The Browns need better depth at wide receiver and it’s their failing tight end that may just be the key to success.