‘But Njoku can’t block!’
However, the Browns did not use a first-round pick on Njoku back in the 2017 NFL Draft for him to stay in and block. They used that valuable of an asset on him to get open down the field and use his other-worldly athletic ability to their advantage.
Through the first three years of his career (well two really with his injury woes in 2019), Njoku has been the most valuable RedZone asset for the Browns and has been on the receiving end of a handful of goalline fades. The idea that Njoku needs to be an elite blocker to be a valuable contributor to an NFL team. Do you know who else can’t block?
The previously mentioned Kelce, Philadelphia Eagles’ Pro Bowler Zach Ertz, New York Giants’ leading tight end and leading receiver Evan Engram, and Raiders’ breakout star Darren Waller. This list goes on; expecting athletic mismatches to “earn their keep” as a blocker has no bearing in a sport that is now all about finding the best mismatches on the football field.
Njoku is a high-level athlete who was not drafted to stay in on third downs or near the red zone. He is only getting exposed as a bad blocker because he has been asked to stay in on passing downs, a task he should never do. Whether you like him or not, the Browns need Njoku with no depth behind him.