Browns Veteran Makes Leap on First Released Depth Chart

Getty Images Tight end David Njoku of the Cleveland Browns.

David Njoku has had a solid training camp with the Cleveland Browns and his hard work has paid off, leaping Harrison Bryant on the first unofficial depth chart released by the team.

Njoku sat behind both Bryant and starter Austin Hooper last season but appears to be making an impact on the coaching staff.

It’s been a turbulent two years for Njoku with the Browns. Prior to last season he requested a trade, which was not met by the Browns, who were adamant he’d have a role on the team. That proved relatively true, with Njoku notching 19 catches for 213 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He added five catches for 66 yards in the postseason and improved as a blocker, which made him useful beyond catching the ball in Kevin Stefanski’s offense.

Like many other Browns, Njoku struggled in Freddie Kitchen’s offense the year prior. He suffered a fractured wrist in Week 2 and was a healthy scratch down the stretch. In all, he had just five catches for 41 yards and one touchdown.

Njoku is now playing out his fifth-year option with the Browns and is being paid just over $6 million.

Browns Feel Great About Tight End Room

Stefanski does love his tight ends and feels good about the group. He has been adamant that all three will continue to hold their own unique roles in the offense.

“We think all of those guys have unique skills,” Stefanski said. “They all complement each other in their skills. Pleased to see them making some plays. They are going to have to continue to do that for us.”

While all appears good right now, there appeared to be some tension between Njoku and the team during the offseason. During an interview with Jim Rome, Njoku said that he was unsure about his future in Cleveland and that he wasn’t on the same page with the team. However, Njoku appears to be all in, as noted by tight end coach Drew Petzing.

“He has been great,” Petzing said. “The funny thing is I know there has been a lot of noise on the outside, my experience with him really from the day I got here has been very positive. In terms of the way the kid works, he prepares and the product he puts on the field, it has been awesome. He is a lot of fun to be around and a lot of fun to coach.”

Harrison Bryant Bulked Up in Offseason

Harrison Bryant: "We look to improve off each other"Harrison Bryant addresses the media before practice on August 10th, 2021. #PlayerSound2021-08-10T18:43:01Z

It is an unofficial depth chart and its likely that all three tight ends will be used a good amount this season. Bryant is entering his second NFL season after being selected in the fourth round by the Browns and felt like he had to put on some weight after feeling outmatched against some of the more prominent pass-rushers like JJ Watt.

“Every aspect of my game. Bigger, faster, stronger. Just improve on everything. I ended up gaining about 13 pounds. I am right about 245,” Bryant told reporters on Tuesday. After the season was over, I was down a lot. I just really focused on that, worked with some people and that was one of my main goals.

“No matter what your weight is, against some of these guys as a tight end, you are outmatched. I would not say all of the time but in a lot of instances. I think for everyone in the tight end room, it is always a goal to get bigger and stronger to help us out on every play.”

Bryant was a dynamic pass-catching tight end in college, catching 65 balls for 1,007 yards and seven touchdowns. He won the John Mackey award as the top tight end in college football.

Last year Bryant stepped in and caught 24 balls for 238 yards and three touchdowns.

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