Njoku continues to struggle with drops early on during training camp, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.
This has been a consistent theme for Njoku during the first week ofcamp, following a rookie campaign in which he was officially credited with three drops on 60 targets but also let a few other catchable passes slip away. The Browns would like to see him seize an every-down role as their No. 1 tight end, but Njoku probably doesn't offer enough impact as a blocker to make up for the inconsistency with his hands. While it sounds like his freakish athleticism hasn't outweighed his shortcomings, Njoku still has plenty of time to make a positive impression before Week 1. Darren Fells and Seth DeValve (thigh) are also competing for snaps at tight end.
Njoku dropped four passes during Sunday's practice, Mary Kay Cabot reports.
It's been a rough start to training camp for the second-year tight end. Njoku -- who dropped three passes during his rookie season -- is expected to take the bulk of the team's snaps at tight end after sharing the position with Seth DeValve in 2017 (thigh), though that could change if his hands become a constant issue, particularly in game action. Njoku dropped a total of eight balls during his last two seasons of college for a 11 percent drop rate, so his problem securing the ball is nothing new, and it's something to keep an eye on as training camp continues.
As a rookie in 2017, Njoku earned five starts versus 14 for Randall Telfer and four for Seth DeValve. The current TE room only has two experienced options -- DeValve and free-agent pickup Darren Fells -- so the Browns' plan to elevate Njoku's workload appears as if it'll come to fruition. Considering the upgrades at quarterback (Tyrod Taylor and 2018 first overall pick Baker Mayfield) and the skill positions (Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb) this offseason, Njoku should have a better situation to improve upon first-year marks of 32-386-4 on 60 targets.
Njoku, who caught two passes for 38 yards during Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Steelers, finishes his rookie season with 32 catches for 386 yards and four touchdowns.
Njoku and fellow tight end Seth DeValve spent much of the year splitting offensive snaps, yet Njoku showed numerous flashes that he is capable of being Cleveland's No. 1 tight end in 2018. He led the team with four touchdowns and was just one reception shy of tying for the second most. The rookie has a bright future, and his outlook will only improve if the Browns improve their offense this offseason.
Njoku was held without a catch on three targets during Sunday's 27-10 loss to the Ravens.
For the first time in his NFL career, Njoku finished a game without at least one reception, ending a remarkable streak of 13 consecutive matchups with a catch. The rookie tight end out of Miami has been quiet during the last two weeks, with just one reception on five targets. Josh Gordon's presence has eaten into Njoku's targets, but because Cleveland is usually playing from behind, there still should be plenty of opportunities for the 21-year-old to finish the season strong.
|P4||8/30/18||@ DET||7:00 pm|
|2||9/16/18||@ NO||1:00 pm|
|4||9/30/18||@ OAK||4:05 pm|
|7||10/21/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|8||10/28/18||@ PIT||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 11|
|12||11/25/18||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|13||12/2/18||@ HOU||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ BAL||1:00 pm|