David Njoku, TE, Miami
The Saints came into this draft with 7 picks and more holes to fill than the SS Minnow. It has been well-documented that they need defensive help all over the field – pass rusher, linebacker, and secondary being most prominent. BUT... after trading a disgruntled Brandin Cooks to the Cheatriots, they actually also have a dearth of quality playmakers. Rookie Michael Thomas had a big year last year, but with Cooks gone I think Thomas will find it much harder to put up similar numbers. So with all of these needs, and two picks in the first, there’s absolutely no reason to reach for a player. BPA all the way baby... grab the best player available and find a way to use him.
After smartly taking Taco Charlton with pick #11, I watched as 20 more high-profile prospects fell off the board, hoping that SOME stud would magically fall through the cracks all the way to pick 32. And that is EXACTLY what happened.
"With the 32nd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select....
Jimmy Graham David Njoku, TE, University of Miami..."
Height: 6’ 4"
The latest model from the Pro Bowl Tight End Factory also known as the University of Miami Hurricanes,Njoku had 43 catches for 698 yards and 8 TD in a somewhat limited role in 2016. Not unlike O.J. Howard, Njoku’s production should only increase in the NFL. And let’s face it, things just haven’t been the same in the Big Easy since Jimmy Graham priced himself out of town. Coby Fleener is serviceable, but he’ll never be the monster that Drew Brees helped Graham to become. David Njoku, however, can ABSOLUTELY be that monster. It’ll be like deja vu all over again...
Njoku features a rare combination of size and speed, making him a natural mismatch problem for defenses. There just aren’t many individuals who can match Njoku’s length and overall athleticism. He is highly effective working down the field, and is able to outrun defenders as he attacks the seam.
But Njoku isn’t just a deep threat. He also does a good job working the underneath routes and across the middle. He runs clean routes and creates good separation, and has the ability to take a short pass and take it to the house.
As a blocker, Njoku does a good job using his long arms to seal the defender from the play. And while he does need to get stronger, he is a willing blocker who keeps his legs moving after contact. And just the fact that he’s a willing blocker only increases his value and makes him a more complete player.
David Njoku has been tagged as one of the more dangerous offensive weapons available in this draft, and has been consistently projected somewhere from around mid-first round to the low 20’s. For the Saints to nab him at the very end of the round is a BIG home run, and one that will have them rejoicing down Bourbon Street for the foreseeable future.
NOTE: I looked long and hard at the cornerbacks still on the board when this pick came up, especially local boy Tre’Davious White, but felt that any one of them would be a slight reach to fill a need. And with the 10th pick in the 2nd round, the Saints can probably get one of the good corners without reaching into the 1st anyway.
2017 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Browns (JALupowitz): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2) 49ers (sports00fan00): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3) Bears (gubby): Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
4) Jaguars (TheWhalwing): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5) Titans (drc242): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6) Jets (boomorbust): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7) Chargers (NowWhat?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8) Panthers (B-Potts): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
9) Bengals (Kiko’s Delivery Service): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10) Bills (jimmyrustler): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11) Saints (NotSoSlick): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
12) Browns (Straight Edge Sid): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13) Cardinals (Paulie97): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
14) Eagles (ablesser88): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
15) Colts (mconner96): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
16) Ravens (The Man, The Myth, the Matthews!): Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
17) Washington (kbruneault): John Ross, WR, Washington
18) Titans (mchiodo): JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR USC
19) Buccaneers (ei78): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
20) Broncos (NVEagleShark): Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
21) Lions (Shark Fighter): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
22) Dolphins (J. Wil): Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
23) Giants (BigWardy59): Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
24) Raiders (big DUB): Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
25) Texans (GotFunds): Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
26) Seahawks (Rogmcc23): Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
27) Chiefs (B1G Cat): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
28) Cowboys (RegalEagle): Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
29) Packers (Wutang_): Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
30) Steelers (General_Lee12): Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
31) Falcons (SirJon): T.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate): David Njoku, TE, Miami