Browns' David Njoku: 'I want 20 touchdowns this year'

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Make a list of Cleveland Browns offensive weapons.

How far down that list does David Njoku land?

It (probably) goes Baker, Odell, Jarvis, Chubb, Kareem Hunt when not suspended, and then Njoku.

The dynamic tight end landing well down the list underscores the Browns' dynamic turnaround from previous seasons, where deficiencies on that side of the ball were deep.

Heading into his third season, the former first-round pick could be in for a leap, becoming one of the top tight ends in the NFL.

While working out with Baker Mayfield and other teammates in Los Angeles, Njoku stopped by the Rich Eisen Show on Tuesday and was asked about his goals for the 2019 season.

"Honestly speaking, I don't really put numbers into my goals," Njoku told Eisen. "I just feel like if I gave everything I could to the game, just worked my hardest, I feel like I'll feel accomplished."

...Wait for it...

"With that being said, I want 20 touchdowns this year," Njoku added laughing before going back to his canned responses. "I just feel, for me, just knowing that I gave all I got will make me feel accomplished."

Sure, Njoku was mostly joking about 20 touchdowns -- though we should never chastise a professional athlete for setting the bar high. Only two players in NFL history have reached the 20-TD catch bar: Jerry Rice (22) in 1987, and Randy Moss (23) in 2007. Rob Gronkowski's 17 TDs in 2011 were the most ever for a tight end. Last season, Antonio Brown led the entire NFL with 15 TDs and Eric Ebron led TEs with 13.

The number Njoku picked is beside the point. The broader notion the numerical utterance conjures is a discussion about whether the tight end is potentially primed for a big season.

Still just 22 years old, Njoku owns the ideal combination of size at 6-foot-4, 246 pounds, and athleticism to become a dominant tight end force, if he can become consistent in all facets. Last season, he showed flashes of being a potential difference-making target for Mayfield, who can take advantage of mismatches over the middle, flying past linebackers and bullying safeties. His 639 yards and four TDs on 56 receptions showed promise, but the ceiling could be much higher.

Improved route-running from Year 1 to Year 2 was evident on Njoku's film, and while he wasn't the best blocker for his position, he got noticeably better. Taking those strides to another level in Year 3 will determine how high Njoku's leap can be.

The talent is there for Njoku. One big question is whether there will be enough pigskin to go around. With Mayfield needing to feed Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry, keep the RBs happy, etc. Njoku's numbers might be suppressed more than if he were playing in an offense devoid of such talents.

The TE himself noted how stacked the offense is heading into 2019.

"We got Odell, Jarvis, (Antonio) Callaway, (Rashard) 'Hollywood' Higgins, me, Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson, Baker Mayfield. That's just the offense," Njoku said. "The defense is completely stacked too."

Perhaps too stacked for Njoku to generate close to 20 TDs, but in Cleveland that's a good thing.

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