The 2020 Cleveland Browns tight ends face stiff competition from one another behind projected starter Austin Hooper, who signed with the Browns after playing his first four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. Behind Hooper, David Njoku looks to redeem himself after a very subpar 2019 when he appeared in just four games and logged five receptions.
The most intriguing player in the group is fourth-round pick Harrison Bryant, who became the first tight end to win the John Mackey Award playing for a non-Power Five school. Bryant logged 65 receptions and 1,004 receiving yards during his last season at Florida Atlantic.
Behind Bryant are two returning faces in Pharaoh Brown and Steven Carlson. While Brown appears to be more of a blocking tight-end, Carlson flashed in 2019, recording five receptions for a touchdown in limited action. Both will fight for a roster spot in camp.
Undrafted rookie Nate Wieting rounds out the group. He’ll be looking for a shot with any of the 32 franchises as he spends camp with the Browns.
Cleveland Browns Tight Ends in 2020
Hooper is a fresh face on the Browns, but he’s also a familiar face in the league. He spent his first four seasons with the Falcons and has made two trips to the Pro Bowl in that time span. In 2019, he appeared in just 13 games and logged 75 receptions for 787 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Despite his Pro Bowl-caliber ability, Hooper is often criticized for not being a playmaker, but he’s a solid, sure-handed target who quarterbacks and coaches can rely on. While he lacks big-play ability, he moves the chains and in the NFL, it’s all that matters.
In a shocking move, the Browns picked up Njoku’s fifth-year option on his rookie contract. After the Browns drafted Bryant, many felt they prepared to move on from Njoku, perhaps in a trade or as a camp cut. Now, however, it doesn’t seem to be the case.
Coach Kevin Stefanski’s sets show he loves to use three tight end sets. Which explains why the Browns drafted Bryant and kept Njoku around. Njoku, however, has to prove he’s healthy, and it derailed his season in 2019.
He appeared poised for a breakout year when he suffered a concussion and a broken wrist on the same play. It’s a make or break year for Njoku with the likes of Harrison Bryant and perhaps even Steven Carlson breathing down his neck to take the number two spot on the roster.
Bryant was the best tight end in college football in 2019 but still didn’t hear his name called until Day Three in the NFL Draft. Sports media outlets everywhere lauded the Browns in drafting Bryant, with many labeling him a Day Three steal.
It’s important to proceed with caution regarding Bryant because he hasn’t faced major competition. In 2019, the Florida Atlantic Owls played Ohio State and Central Florida before playing and dominating the rest of their schedule. It shows that Bryant will have to make a major leap from the mid-major division of college football to the NFL.
Other Tight Ends in Camp
Pharaoh Brown has spent the last two seasons with the Browns, logging just two receptions for 27 in that time span. He’s a blocking tight end and his blocking skills might warrant coaches to keep him on as a fourth tight end.
Steven Carlson’s first NFL reception resulted in a touchdown. He seemed to show flashes of excellence, coming up with a few big plays in 2019 but didn’t produce enough to lock up a roster spot in 2020. He’s undersized for a tight end, at 6’4, 240lbs, and could fall victim to the ‘Tweener’ label.
Nate Wieting is a blocking tight end who logged 10 receptions at Iowa in 2019. He figures to get a look as a blocking tight end and will compete with Brown and Carlson for either a fourth spot on the roster or to catch a place on the practice squad. He’s looking to impress all 32 teams in the league if he doesn’t land with the Browns.
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Published at Fri, 01 May 2020 22:30:03 +0000