On the morning of March 29 in Miami, Fla., the weather was as picture-perfect as you would want it to be for your last chance to impress NFL scouts and coaches if you were a prospect. Even though the sun was shining bright, one Canes player shined even brighter in the athletic testing and that was tight end David Njoku, a first-round NFL Draft prospect.
David Njoku with a vert of 40 on the dot. Couldn't top it on his final jump.(video below) All 32 #NFL teams here at Miami's Pro Day. pic.twitter.com/gjjqicDnGl
Njoku started off the morning with an impressive 40-inch vertical jump, which was 2.5 inches higher than the already noteworthy 37.5-inch vertical he posted at the Combine last month.
Njoku followed up his personal best vertical jump by staying about on-par with his broad jump, recording a 10-foot, 11-inch broad jump this morning, which was just one inch less than his 11-foot broad jump at the Combine.
After that, there was really only one question left to answer about Njoku, and that was if he could better his 4.64 40-yard dash time from Indianapolis.
Both of David Njoku's 40 times (4.62, 4.56) would be improvements on his 4.64 time at the Combine.
At Pro Days, even when schools release “official” numbers, everything is hand-timed. I timed Njoku’s two 40-yard dash attempts at 4.62 and 4.56. The 4.56 was probably a little fast on my hand, but either would have been better than his Combine time.
Njoku really did get the full Pro Day experience. He participated in all of the athletic drills, and also opted to work as a blocker before he ran routes. The two clips above were two of the reps I captured of him in the blocking drills, one pass blocking and one run blocking. How NFL teams interpret what they think they can get out of Njoku as a blocker will determine how high he goes in the draft. Today he performed well in that area.
Finally, there was the on-the-field drills. Njoku went through various tight end routes for quarterback Brad Kaaya, and other than one bad drop he had on his first rep, he look good running different routes both long and short.
Plus, when they got to the red zone portion of the drill, on the last play of the day, they dialed up a throw that let Njoku show off what he does best.
Njoku declined to meet with the media afterwards, as did quarterback Brad Kaaya – which is something I’ll go into greater detail on in this week’s upcoming Pewter Nation Podcast. Though his testing numbers looked good, Njoku, at times, seems a bit lackadaisical when finishing reps. One scout there said that he wasn’t impressed with the effort Njoku gave.
Miami TE David Njoku – Photo by: Trevor Sikkema/PR
No one knows the exact reason why Njoku did not speak to the media afterwards, so I don’t want to accuse him of anything, but allowing that to happen, since it ultimately was his decision, doesn’t look great when you pair it with an overall view that he didn’t appear to be giving full effort on the field.
Overall, the numbers certainly did Njoku some favors. He’s a player the Buccaneers are certainly looking into at No. 19, as they had their regional scout Brian Hudspeth front and center for his drills. The effort on the field was enough for me to notice, but you could also argue that these players already have all their tape, so who cares?
There’s certainly truth to that, but if you’re going to do everything, as I’ll credit Njoku for doing, it doesn’t make sense not to impress in every way.
The question now is if he’s worth the No. 19 overall pick, and if he is, who would the Bucs take him over, if he’s there?
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: email@example.com
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