Ranking the Browns biggest NFL draft gems of the last decade

The Cleveland Browns have found some gems in the draft over the last 10 years

Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns
Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns / Tom Pennington/GettyImages
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3. David Njoku, TE

In 2017, the Cleveland Browns had three picks in the first round and came away with three quality players. At No. 1 overall, they landed Myles Garrett from Texas A&M. They then dropped out of the No. 12 spot in a trade with the Houston Texans, who ironically took Deshaun Watson.

After that, they landed Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers at No. 25, and then at No. 29 it was Miami tight end David Njoku.

At the time of his selection, Njoku was still just 20 years old and was seen as an incredibly raw talent. Still, he had all the tools to develop into a star. Cleveland brought him along slowly as he had 32 receptions for 386 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie but then he showed out in 2018 with 56 receptions for 639 yards and four touchdowns.

From there, things got tough for Njoku. He missed 12 games in 2019 and fell down the depth chart after Austin Hooper signed in the offseason. Initially, Njoku wanted out but he rescinded his trade request after speaking with Kevin Stefanski, and before long, Hooper was released and Njoku got the huge extension.

This past season, he finally reached his full potential as he had 81 receptions for 882 yards and six touchdowns. All those were career highs for him and they came despite a slow start. That makes it even more exciting to think about what he can do in 2024 if he gets the workload all year that he had to close out 2023.