The New York Giants are hoping to land a game-breaking TE in the upcoming NFL Draft and Miami’s David Njoku could be their man.
For every day leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, we will be previewing a potential first-round pick for the New York Giants.
Up next in our daily draft diaries is University of Miami tight end David Njoku. The former Hurricane fills an obvious need — the Giants have a gaping hole at tight end and have had said hole since Martellus Bennett left in 2012. Larry Donnell and Will Tye simply aren’t good enough, and new free agent signing Rhett Ellison is more of a fullback/run blocker.
Eli Manning is in dire need of a security blanket down the middle, and an athletic tight end like Njoku could be just that. He’s the second highest rated tight end in the draft, behind Alabama’s OJ Howard (who, in all likelihood, will be off the board when the Giants pick).
While several mock drafts have Njoku going in the mid first, it isn’t inconceivable that he drops to #23. After Laremy Tunsil‘s slide on draft night due to his hacked Twitter account, anything is possible.
Everything about Njoku screams future Pro Bowler. His biggest strength is his athleticism — a 4.64 40-time, 21 reps on the bench press, and a 37.5 inch in the combine are all solid numbers, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s 6-foot-4, either. According to NFL.com, Njoku’s athleticism allows him to be a menace on seam routes, which are many tight ends bread and butter.
Njoku is extremely muscular and quick, has elite acceleration, and can eat defensive backs and linebackers for lunch when he’s in the slot. As a blocker, while he isn’t elite, he still remains competitive, and his lateral quickness is great for down the field blocking (you listening, Odell?).
His numbers were also solid, especially in the red zone, where he racked up eight total touchdowns.
To summarize, Njoku is uber athletic and has a great body for the position, thus giving him a very high ceiling. He might be somewhat of a project now, but down the road, he could be a monster.
Njoku is still a bit raw. He’s only been a tight end for a few years, so he is still learning the ins and outs of the position. He was also very inconsistent at Miami– he had eight drops in two seasons, which gave him a whopping 11% drop rate.
In terms of blocking, Njoku really struggled at times. His technique and strength both let him down at times, and his legs, according to NFL.com, definitely need more work in the gym.
However, these are all fixable problems. You can’t improve athleticism (to an extent), but you sure can help to cut down needless drops, and you sure can improve blocking technique.
Should the Giants Draft Njoku?
If he is on the board, and there isn’t a quality left tackle left, yes. Left tackle is a bigger issue than tight end, and therefore should be addressed first. However, in terms of tight ends, it’s difficult to find a better one in this draft than Njoku, whose upside is off the charts. He’ll be able to contribute immediately, due to his size and athleticism, and with time, he will refine his technique, and hopefully cut down on his blocks.
A receiving corps of Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, and David Njoku is mouthwatering, but it comes with the caveat that Ereck Flowers will still be the left tackle. So, the question is simple: is Njoku worth passing up on a left tackle?
Verdict: Only if the elite Left Tackles are off the Board
Speaking of elite left tackles, Alabama’s Cam Robinson is up tomorrow. Stay tuned for more draft diaries on ESNY.