David Njoku
refer to caption
Njoku with the Browns in 2021
No. 85 – Cleveland Browns
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1996-07-10) July 10, 1996 (age 27)
Cedar Grove, New Jersey, U.S.
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:246 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school:Cedar Grove
College:Miami (FL) (2014–2016)
NFL Draft:2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 29
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 18, 2023
Receptions:287
Receiving yards:3,264
Receiving touchdowns:25
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

David Njoku (/ɪnˈku/ in-JOE-koo; born July 10, 1996) is an American football tight end for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Miami (FL). He was selected by the Browns in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Early years

Njoku is one of nine children born to Nigerian parents who immigrated to the United States.[1] He attended Cedar Grove High School in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. During his career, he had 76 receptions for 1,794 yards and 19 touchdowns. A 3-star tight end recruit, Njoku committed to Miami (FL) to play college football over offers from Boston College, Ohio State, and Temple.[2][3][4] Njoku also competed in the high jump in high school, winning the national championship at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor his senior year in 2014.[5][1]

College career

After redshirting his first year at Miami in 2014, Njoku played in all 13 games with four starts in 2015 and had 21 receptions for 362 yards and one touchdown.[6] In 2016, he had 43 receptions for 698 yards and eight touchdowns.[7] After the season, Njoku decided to forgo his remaining two years of eligibility and enter the 2017 NFL Draft.[8][9]

College statistics

Season Team GP Receiving
Rec Yds TD
2014 Miami Redshirt Redshirt
2015 Miami 13 21 362 1
2016 Miami 12 43 698 8
Total 25 64 1,060 9

Professional career

Pre-draft

Njoku with the Cleveland Browns, 2018

Njoku received an invitation to the NFL Combine and completed all of the combine and positional drills. In addition, he attended Miami's Pro Day and opted to again perform the vertical jump, broad jump, short shuttle, 40-yard dash, 20-yard dash, and 10-yard dash. NFL draft experts and analysts projected Njoku to be selected in the first round of the draft. He was ranked the third best tight end available in the draft by Sports Illustrated and was ranked the second best tight end by ESPN, NFL analyst Mike Mayock, and NFL analyst Bucky Brooks.[10][11][12][13]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press Wonderlic
6 ft 4 in
(1.93 m)
246 lb
(112 kg)
35+14 in
(0.90 m)
10 in
(0.25 m)
4.64 s 1.61 s 2.70 s 4.34 s 6.97 s 40 in
(1.02 m)
11 ft 1 in
(3.38 m)
21 reps 24
All value from NFL Scouting Combine except vertical.[14][15]

2017 season

The Cleveland Browns selected Njoku in the first round (29th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.[16] He was the third tight end to be selected in the draft.[17] On June 15, 2017, the Browns signed Njoku to a fully guaranteed, four-year, $9.52 million contract which included a signing bonus of $5.06 million.[18]

On September 10, Njoku made his NFL debut in a 21–18 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had two receptions for 20 yards.[19] in the Week 2 game against the Baltimore Ravens, he had three receptions for 27 yards and his first NFL touchdown in the 24–10 loss.[20] He finished his rookie year with 32 catches for 386 yards and four touchdowns.

2018 season

In 2018, Njoku entered the season as the Browns starting tight end. He played in all 16 games with 14 starts, recording 56 catches for 639 yards and four touchdowns.[21]

2019 season

Njoku had a receiving touchdown in the Browns' 2019 season opener against the Tennessee Titans.[22] In Week 2, Njoku was upended and landed on his head and left the game against the New York Jets due to a concussion. However, later in the week, it was revealed that Njoku suffered a broken wrist on the same play. He was placed on injured reserve on September 20, 2019.[23] He was designated for return from injured reserve on November 20, 2019, and began practicing with the team again.[24] He was activated on December 7, 2019.[25] He appeared in four games and started one in the 2019 season.[26]

2020 season

On April 27, 2020, the Browns exercised the fifth-year option on Njoku's contract.[27] Njoku was placed on injured reserve on September 14, 2020, with a knee injury, a day after he posted three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown against the Ravens.[28] He was activated on October 10.[29]

In the 2020 season, Njoku appeared in 13 games and started five. He finished with 19 receptions for 213 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.[30]

2021 season

Njoku playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021.

In Week 5 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Njoku caught seven passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, with the score coming off a 71-yard catch and run, in the 47–42 loss.[31] In the 2021 season, he appeared in all 16 games and started 11. He finished with 36 receptions for 475 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns.[32]

2022 season

The Browns placed the franchise tag on Njoku on March 7, 2022.[33] On May 27, Njoku signed a four-year, $56.75 million contract extension.[34] In Week 7 against the Baltimore Ravens, Njoku suffered a high–ankle sprain. It was later announced that he would not require surgery but would miss two–to–five weeks.[35] In the 2022 season, Njoku recorded 58 receptions for 628 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns in 14 games and starts.[36]

2023 season

On September 30, 2023, before Week 4, the Browns announced that Njoku was questionable due to suffering burns on his face and arms in a "freak accident" in his home. [37] In Week 14 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he had two receiving touchdowns in the 31–27 victory for his first game with multiple touchdowns.[38]

NFL career statistics

Regular season

Year Team Games Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2017 CLE 16 5 32 386 12.1 34 4 0 0
2018 CLE 16 14 56 639 11.4 66 4 0 0
2019 CLE 4 1 5 41 8.2 18 1 0 0
2020 CLE 13 5 19 213 11.2 28 2 0 0
2021 CLE 16 11 36 475 13.2 71 4 0 0
2022 CLE 14 14 58 628 10.8 38 4 1 1
2023 CLE 16 16 81 882 10.9 43 6 2 2
Career 95 66 287 3,264 11.4 71 25 3 3

Postseason

Year Team Games Receiving Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2020 CLE 2 1 5 66 13.2 27 0 0 0
2023 CLE 1 1 7 93 13.3 45 0 0 0
Career 3 2 12 159 13.3 45 0 0 0

Personal life

On September 29, 2023, Njoku suffered burns to his face and arms during a household accident where he was trying to light a fire pit.[39] He has since supported the American Burn Association in multiple instances.[40][41][42] He was named a Nigerian chief in his familial village, Umuozu, in Nawangele in the 2022 offseason. [43]

References

  1. ^ a b Degnan, Susan Miller (November 12, 2015). "Former high school track star David Njoku emerges as playmaker for UM football team". Miami Herald. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  2. ^ Degnan, Susan Miller (January 31, 2014). "Football: David Njoku of Cedar Grove commits to Miami (Fla.)". NJ.com. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  3. ^ Bernstein, Jason (February 6, 2014). "David Njoku of Cedar Grove signs to play football at Miami on National Signing Day". NJ.com. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  4. ^ "David Njoku, 2014 Tight End, Miami (FL)". Rivals.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  5. ^ Kellert, Robert (June 16, 2014). "David Njoku of Cedar Grove Wins High Jump National Championship!". NJ MileSplit. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  6. ^ Degnan, Susan Miller (August 9, 2016). "This leaping, pass-catching 'freak' is one University of Miami fans hope sticks around". Miami Herald. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  7. ^ Underwood, Cameron J. (December 29, 2016). "Miami Hurricanes Football: TE David Njoku declares for 2017 NFL Draft". State of The U. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  8. ^ Miller, Susan Degnan (December 29, 2016). "UM tight end David Njoku announces he will enter the NFL Draft". Miami Herald. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  9. ^ Wilcox, J.T. (December 28, 2016). "Tight End David Njoku Declares For NFL Draft". CBS Miami. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  10. ^ Burke, Chris (April 24, 2017). "2017 NFL draft rankings: Top prospects by position". SI.com. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  11. ^ Legwold, Jeff (April 22, 2017). "Ranking the 2017 Draft's Top 100 Prospects". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  12. ^ Brooks, Bucky (April 25, 2017). "Bucky Brooks' top 5 2017 NFL Draft prospects by position 3.0". NFL.com. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  13. ^ Mayock, Mike (April 12, 2017). "Mike Mayock's top 5 2017 NFL Draft prospects by position". NFL.com. Retrieved May 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "NFL Combine Profile", NFL.com, retrieved March 4, 2017
  15. ^ "David Njoku Draft Profile – NFL.com". NFL.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2018. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  16. ^ Shook, Nick (April 27, 2017). "Browns trade back into first round, take TE David Njoku". NFL.com. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  17. ^ "2017 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved May 17, 2023.
  18. ^ "Spotrac.com: David Njoku contract". spotrac.com. Retrieved June 16, 2017.
  19. ^ "Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns - September 10th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  20. ^ "Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens - September 17th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  21. ^ "David Njoku 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  22. ^ "Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns - September 8th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  23. ^ "Browns place TE David Njoku on injured reserve, claim S Juston Burris". ClevelandBrowns.com. September 20, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  24. ^ "Browns TE David Njoku designated for return". ClevelandBrowns.com. November 20, 2019. Retrieved November 21, 2019.
  25. ^ "Browns activate TE David Njoku from injured reserve". ClevelandBrowns.com. December 7, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  26. ^ "David Njoku 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  27. ^ Gribble, Andrew (April 27, 2020). "Browns exercise 5th-year contract options for Myles Garrett, David Njoku". ClevelandBrowns.com. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  28. ^ Shook, Nick (September 14, 2020). "Browns swap kickers, place TE David Njoku on IR following blowout loss". NFL.com. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  29. ^ Florio, Mike (October 10, 2020). "Browns return David Njoku to active roster". NBCSports.com. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  30. ^ "David Njoku 2020 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  31. ^ "Cleveland Browns at Los Angeles Chargers - October 10th, 2021". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  32. ^ "David Njoku 2021 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  33. ^ Poisal, Anthony (March 7, 2022). "Browns designate TE David Njoku as franchise player, tender three". ClevelandBrowns.com. Retrieved March 8, 2022.
  34. ^ Baca, Michael (May 27, 2022). "Browns, TE David Njoku agree to four-year, $56.75M contract extension". NFL.com. Retrieved December 17, 2023.
  35. ^ Koons, Zach (October 24, 2022). "Severity of Ankle Injury to Browns' David Njoku Revealed, per Report". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  36. ^ "David Njoku 2022 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  37. ^ "Browns' David Njoku Suffers Burns to Face, Arms in Freak Household Accident - Sports Illustrated". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  38. ^ Justice, Camryn (December 10, 2023). "Browns TE David Njoku has first-ever multi-touchdown game in matchup with Jaguars". News 5 Cleveland WEWS. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  39. ^ Trotter, Jake (September 30, 2023). "Browns TE David Njoku questionable due to burn injuries". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 18, 2023.
  40. ^ "American Burn Association Receives Generous Support from NFL Player David Njoku". American Burn Association. October 10, 2023. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  41. ^ "David Njoku shares his story, supports American Burn Association". NBC Sports. December 2, 2023. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  42. ^ "Browns' David Njoku raising money for burn care, prevention after home accident". Fox 8 Cleveland WJW. October 10, 2023. Retrieved January 18, 2024.
  43. ^ Justice, Camryn (September 6, 2022). "Tales from Training Camp: Ceremony in Nigeria makes Browns TE David Njoku's 'Chief' nickname an official title". News 5 Cleveland WEWS. Retrieved November 13, 2023.