A first-round pick could lead the way at this position group in 2017, but the Browns will need much more than one player to step up.
It's Day 4 of our position breakdowns as we look ahead to the start of training camp.
THE TIGHT ENDS
What happened at OTAs: Njoku, the third of Cleveland's three first-round picks, wasted little time showing off the athleticism and potential that made him such a coveted prospect. At rookie minicamp, Njoku developed a nice rapport with quarterback DeShone Kizer and made a number of big plays. It wasn't as easy against the vets, but Njoku, the youngest player on the Browns' roster, fit in nicely. "I think that the things that we saw on the video tape showed up," tight ends coach Greg Seamon said. "He's a very athletic guy. There are aren't a lot of people in the country that are 250 pounds and are also 7-foot high jumpers. That part of it is really evident." Meanwhile, DeValve showed he's ready for a potentially expanded role by putting together a solid spring. "This is not the same Seth as a year ago," coach Hue Jackson said. "He came out and was banged up and learning his way in the National Football League. I'm sure he'd probably tell you he felt a little overmatched. But I think he's worked extremely hard, and I think it shows in what he's done this offseason to give himself a chance to compete and I think he's done a good job."
Under the radar: An opportunity exists for an off-the-radar tight end to make the 53-man roster, and McNamara could be in position to snag it. The undrafted free agent out of USC received plenty of chances to impress and made a handful of nice catches during the spring. Preseason games could be a big platform for a player such as McNamara, who could receive significant snaps in these contests.
Variables to consider: With the release of veteran Gary Barnidge, the door is wide open for Njoku to make a significant impact as a rookie. Tight end, though, can be a challenging position for rookies, even the ones who go on to become regulars at the Pro Bowl. Future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates had 24 catches for 389 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie. Jimmy Graham had 31 receptions for 356 yards. The list goes on and on, and Seamon is certainly aware of the challenges that lay in front of the super athletic Njoku. "I don't think any rookie knows what they are in for," Seamon said. "It's kind of a golden age for the tight end in the game of football, because teams are finding so many versatile athletes playing the position in college. You see more and more teams that play with multiple tight ends … the tight ends are playing a lot more snaps than they used to. They take a bit more of a pounding over the course of a season."
Quote to note: "Those guys have got to be ready to play. They have got to be accountable, dependable, be out there every day and be able to make those plays when the opportunities come." -- Jackson
Stat tracker: Browns tight ends have accounted for 40 percent (14 of 35) of the team's touchdown catches over the past two seasons.
How many were kept at last year's 53-man cutdown?: Three