The Buccaneers appear to be very interested in bolstering their tight end unit via the upcoming draft.
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When news first began to surface that the Buccaneers were looking closely at the top tight ends in this years draft, many people scratched their head. After all, Cameron Brate is an ascending player who has near perfect chemistry with Jameis Winston, and you don’t often see teams heavily pursue a second tight end when they already have a good one in place. However, as the off-season has progressed it’s become very clear via reported visits that the team is prepared to use the 19th overall pick on the position. Could David Njoku be that guy?
According to ESPN’s Adam Caplan, the Bucs visited with Njoku earlier this week (no date was provided).
Kale Pinder with the Pewter Plank wrote about Njoku just a few days ago, making the case that the former Hurricane is an ideal fit for the Bucs. When you click on the film, it’s tough to argue. Though he only did it for one season, Njoku has managed to hold up to the proud tradition of UM tight ends like Kellen Winslow, Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey. He’s big, was utilized as a blocker, moves well with the ball in his hands, and tested in the 93rd percentile for athletes at the combine. In 2016 the 6’4, 246 lb tight end registered 43 catches, 698 yards and eight touchdowns.
For Njoku to be the Bucs pick, the team has to determine what level of blocker he will be at the next level. With Cam Brate just a mediocre blocker, it’s paramount that their second tight end be a willing and quality blocker. We know that Njoku was trusted by Miami to block, but it’s difficult to say just how well he’ll be able to do it in the NFL.
While David Njoku isn’t quite the athlete or specimen that O.J. Howard is, he had a better 2016 season statistically and put far more positive plays on tape. Howard is the superior blocker and probably the player that Tampa would prefer given a choice, but it’s unlikely they’ll be given such a choice as Howard is going to be a top fifteen pick. If Njoku is still on the board at pick 19, don’t be surprised to hear Roger Goodell marry him to the Buccaneers.