Dynasty Prospect Profile: David Njoku
David Njoku, Miami (FL)
(percentile rank among all TEs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.64 seconds (79th)
Vertical: 37.5 inches (90th)
Broad: 133 inches (98th)
3-cone: 6.97 seconds (80th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.34 seconds (56th)
Whichever team drafts Njoku will get an elite athlete.
With big hands (10 inches).
And massively long arms (35.3 inches).
Glance again at his Combine numbers above. Then, consider that he was a national high-jump champion as a high school senior.
Not a bad starting point, right?
A WR on the football team, Njoku had offers from Miami as well as Ohio State, Rutgers, Temple, UConn and Boston College. He redshirted in 2014 during an experimental time for the UM coaching staff. Tried at outside linebacker, Njoku packed on 30 pounds to make the transition.
Soon, he’d move back to offense.
“One of the first drills in spring ball, he catches a ball in the flat, turned and just took off down the sideline, and I said, ‘I think we have something special,’ ” said Miami’s TE coach Todd Hartley, per MMQB. “The natural bend and flexibility and athleticism and twitch—he has it all.”
Njoku spent just 2 more seasons at Miami, but we’d see flashes of that big-time athleticism. In 2015, he posted a team-leading 17.2 yards per catch (boosted by a long of 58). Njoku earned a bigger role in 2016 and responded with 16.2 YPC and 1 TD every 5.3 catches. Pro Football Focus also charted him with 11.2 yards AFTER catch per reception — the most by any draft-eligible TE.
Going forward, it’s all about honing in on the intricacies of the TE position. Speaking at his Pro Day, Njoku admitted that he’s “a little raw” after playing TE for just “2 years or so.” He’s simply on the young side, not turning 21 until July. And we see some of that inexperience in his 9.9% drop rate for his career.
But as we’ll see below, Njoku has the tools that any NFL club would love to work with.
Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
Games watched - Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Virginia
Njoku's background as a WR is evident on tape. We'll review several clips where he's split out and featured on screens and other opportunities in space.
Njoku's not particularly tall at 6'4, at least for TE standards. But he profiles well as a red zone threat in the NFL. He routinely displayed great ball skills and should only improve with more experience.
Even if Njoku adds around 10 pounds -- as expected -- we're not concerned about his straight-line speed. Here, he shows his ability to threaten defenses vertically -- and absorb a big hit.
No surprise here, but blocking is a clear weakness for Njoku. Miami often gave him help on DEs, and for good reason.
QB Brad Kaaya has to get rid of the ball in this final clip. Still, we see Njoku get handled pretty easily with pure power.
The last rookie TE to top 600 yards was John Carlson in 2008 (627). Only 2 rookie TEs have ever notched 60+ catches (Jeremy Shockey, 2002 and Keith Jackson, 1988).
Combine that with Njoku's inexperience, and you're unlikely to get an immediate ROI. We're talking dynasty here, though. And this kid has 1 of the highest ceilings of any offensive player in the draft.
Unique athletic traits put him in rare territory. (Just check out his specs on Player Profiler.) On the field, he's shown he can parlay his combo of size, movement skills and leaping ability into solid production. A likely Round 1 NFL pick, Njoku deserves consideration in the late Round 2 or early Round 3 range of rookie drafts.
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