David Njoku's TE coach at Miami believes his 'best football has yet to be played'

The play was open all game. David Njoku saw it and let his coaches know.

Within moments, a bubble screen was called for the talented University of Miami tight end, and he made West Virginia pay in what would be his final game at the collegiate level.

In the eyes of Miami tight end coach Todd Hartley, Njoku's 23-yard touchdown in the Hurricanes' 31-14 rout of West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl symbolized what Njoku can bring to the Browns.

"We needed a play and we got it to him," Hartley said Friday during an interview on Cleveland Browns Daily. "He broke a tackle like he always does and dove into the end zone. He knew the team needed a play and said, 'hey get it to me, I will get it done,' and the dude went out and did exactly what he said he'd do."

Njoku got plenty done during his final season at Miami, one that tested him as both a versatile tight end and an unexpected leader. Only a 20-year-old redshirt sophomore, Njoku was needed as a vocal presence on a young roster looking to get its program back to prominence, Hartley said.

The situation in Cleveland is similar, as Njoku is the youngest player on one of the league's youngest rosters and joins a tight end room that is high on promise and light on experience.

Hartley's confidence in Njoku's ability to adapt is as high as Njoku's was before he caught that game-sealing bubble screen against the Mountaineers.

"He's been around where he's had to rebuild it a little bit. He's done it before," Hartley said. "He's going to be a natural."

The Cleveland Browns draft David Njoku at No. 29 in the 2017 NFL Draft.

With the departure of veteran Gary Barnidge, the Browns are banking on Njoku to be a natural fit in an offense looking to be more dynamic in 2017. His playmaking ability with the ball in his hands was one of the main reasons why he was such a coveted prospect -- he led all college tight ends in yards after catch -- but his strength as a blocker, both on the line and in space, should help a Cleveland offense that hopes to get even more out of its running attack.

Cleveland, of course, was attracted to Njoku's versatile skill set and wanted him enough to trade up four spots from No. 33 to No. 29 and surrender a fourth-round pick to ensure he'd be a Brown. Hartley sees the franchise being rewarded in an exponential fashion.

"He's still learning. His ceiling is so high. He's only played football for so long. He's just a raw natural athlete that is still trying to feel his way through some things," Hartley said. "I thought he was the best tight end in the draft. His potential is through the roof. The kid has got a lot of football ahead of him and his best football has yet to be played."

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