• Brian L. Barefield

Texans May Have A Hard Time Stopping Browns TE David Njoku On Sunday

Browns TE David Njolu is once again a primary target in the Browns offense.

With the Texans upcoming game against the Cleveland Browns, a lot has been made about the one-two punch of Browns running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and rightfully so as the two combined for 230 yards rushing in a Week 10 victory over the Texans.

Yet, it may be another offensive weapon that starting quarterback Baker Mayfield has at his disposal that Houston should pay attention to and that is tight end David Njoku.

Njoku, 25, led Cleveland in receiving with 76 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in a Week One loss. The former University of Miami player who was drafted by Cleveland in the 2017 NFL Draft had a breakout season in 2018 with 639 yards receiving on 56 receptions and 4 touchdowns.

Injuries has hampered Njoku the last two seasons which limited him to a total of 24 catches and 300 yards during that time. That uncertainty caused Cleveland to bring in former Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper and draft another tight end in Harrison Bryant. Njoku was very disgruntled last season and requested a trade from the Browns which they declined to make.

One thing that stands out on film is Njoku’s ability to stretch the field and that helps Cleveland to create spacing needed for their very efficient running game. It also allows the Browns other receivers to take advantage of that space created by Njoku.

“He is a guy who creates mismatch problems,” said Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said about Njoku. “The fact that he is such a big guy and can run like he does, they have to decide whether they are going to put a big guy on him to try and bring a physical presence or bring a speed guy. It is a difference-maker for us. It is also one of those things for us to key in on and how teams try to defend us.”

The Texans defense will have to always account for Njoku whereabouts when he is on the field.

“He is a good player,” said Texans defensive coordinator Lovie Smith who also went on to praise the other tight ends the Browns have as well. “I think all of them can stretch the field. All of them can block. They like their tight ends so much that they don’t go three receivers, they keep both tight ends and that really causes problems when you can do that."

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