Njoku acknowledged there will be more competition for targets with Odell Beckham joining the Browns, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. "It's competition," Njoku said Wednesday. "Whoever's open gets the ball. We're a team, so we've got to see it as such. But at the at end of the day, we've got to compete." Beckham and backup tight end Demetrius Harris will join a roster with five holdovers -- Njoku, Duke Johnson, Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins -- that caught 39 or more passes for the Browns last season. Add in running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt (suspension) and it's impossible to find another team with comparable depth at the skill positions. It will be tough for Njoku to take a big step forward from last year's mark of 88 targets (5.5 per game), but the situation is at least conducive to improved efficiency and a plethora of touchdowns to go around.
Njoku caught three of seven targets for 62 yards in Sunday's 26-24 finale loss to the Ravens. Njoku finishes the 2018 season with 56 receptions for 639 yards to go along with four touchdowns. While those numbers are an improvement from his rookie season, the Miami Hurricane product dealt with inconsistency through much of the season and never was the red-zone threat many expected him to be. With that being said, he still possesses the talent to be a top-tier tight end in the league, and an entire offseason to work with Baker Mayfield should strengthen the duo's rapport.
Njoku (knee) turned in a full practice Thursday, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The unrestricted practice clears the way for Njoku to play in Sunday's season finale against the Ravens. In the Browns' previous matchup with Baltimore in Week 5, Njoku drew double-digit targets for one of two times all season, parlaying his 10 looks into six receptions for 69 yards.
Njoku (knee) was a limited practice participant Wednesday, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Njoku has been playing through the same knee injury for weeks, typically upgrading to full participation Thursdays or Fridays. A Week 17 matchup in Baltimore won't be easy for Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense, but the Ravens haven't done a great job against tight ends, allowing 60 yards per game and 8.3 yards per target. By comparison, they've limited wide receivers to 6.4 YPT and running backs to 4.2.
Njoku caught three of four targets, compiling 73 receiving yards during Sunday's 26-18 win against the Bengals. The 6-foot-4 tight tight end exploded for a season-high 73 receiving yards against Cincinnati, also collecting his fourth touchdown of 2018 as the Browns picked up a third straight victory. (Two of his four scores this year have come against the Bengals.) He's been a boom-bust play yardage-wise over the latter half of the season, exceeding 30 receiving yards in five of his past eight appearances, but averaging 8.7 yards per game in the other three outings during that span. Njoku carries a streak of five straight games with three or more catches, as the Browns travel to take on a Baltimore defense that's allowed the sixth-most tight end receptions this year (79).
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/17||@New York Jets||6||4.88|
|3||09/23||Los Angeles Rams||23||7.89|
|5||10/08||@San Francisco 49ers||4||4.75|
|8||10/27||@New England Patriots||18||7.37|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||74||44||512||4||22||11.64||75|