This is a situation to monitor for those owners in TE-premium leagues. Barnidge is still capable of posting C.J. Fiedorowicz-type numbers given an improving quarterback situation in Houston.
TE David Njoku, the youngest member of the Browns; youth-laden roster, will turn 21-years-old. But make no doubt the Browns rookie tight end and 29th overall NFL Draft pick looks and plays like a grown man, a dynamic that was plenty clear throughout OTAs and minicamp.
Njoku, the former Miami standout and national boys high jump champion, used a rare combination of size (6-foot-4, 246), speed, and instincts to emerge as one of the top players in this year’s Draft class.
Now, he’s poised to earn a key role on a new-look Cleveland offense that parted ways with veteran tight end Gary Barnidge in April.
The story said Njoku caught everything throw his way this spring, but did take reps with the second and third teams. Everyone seems excited about his potential and with Barnidge no longer with the team, and Njoku a first round pick, there's a good chance he'll eventually have the TE1 spot at some point sooner or later this season.
I've read and heard it suggested that the TE situation is dire enough that the Ravens should sign a proven veteran tight end such as Gary Barnidge, formerly of the Cleveland Browns, to ensure they have someone who can handle the job.
But I think it's too soon to suggest the Ravens absolutely have to make a move. It's possible this could end up being a summertime worry that fades.
Keep an eye on Ben Watson. He's one year removed from a 74-catch season, and he's a pro's pro, adept at both blocking and catching. It was apparent at the team's mandatory minicamp last month that he is in terrific shape. He was on the field for some drills.
The Ravens looked very good at the position with six TEs not that long ago, but now there are major questions. Dennis Pitta's hip injury likely means his football career is over. Darren Waller is suspended for a year. That leaves Watson, Nick Boyle, Crockett Gillmore and Maxx Williams. It seems the team is really counting on the return of Watson to lead the way this season with Boyle also possibly getting a good look.
Barnidge apparently became expendable after the Browns drafted TE David Njoku. Rookie tight ends rarely make a fantasy impact, but the Browns appear to be planning to play Njoku extensively if they were willing to part ways with Barnidge. Barnidge is entering his age 32 season, but shouldn't have a problem finding a new team.
Seth DeValve learns something new every day.
The Browns’ rookie tight end last week described this season as one of constant growth and development.
“Progress,” he said. “There’s a process to everything that we do.”
With a month left in the season, it’s an approach that’s starting to turn into production as the former Princeton standout continues to see his role increase. Perhaps his most meaningful game came when he caught three passes for 39 yards against the Giants two weeks ago and played 20-of-58 offensive snaps in lieu of an injured Gary Barnidge. Before that, he netted his first touchdown — a 25-yard catch — against a tough Ravens defense in Baltimore last month.
DeValve had to learn the ins and outs of playing tight end. The 6-foot-2, 245-pound player was mostly used as a slot receiver or wing back at Princeton. But his athleticism and knack for the ball intrigued the Browns, who viewed him as a potential mismatch for opposing defenses. His blocking is also coming along, according to the story. At the very least, he's a name to keep an eye on for next fantasy season.
Friday, November 25, 2016, 6:43pm
Browns QB Cody Kessler (concussion, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 12. Josh McCown gets the start this week against the Giants. That’s good news for Gary Barnidge, who has produced at a higher rate with McCown at quarterback.
Friday, November 4, 2016, 6:47pm
Browns QB Cody Kessler (concussion) took full practice reps all week. Kessler will start Week 9. There were three games this season in which Kessler attempted 30 or more passes. In those games, Duke Johnson has averaged 5.0 catches, so he's a safe play in PPR formats. Over the past two years, Gary Barnidge's yardage with and without Kessler are about the same, though he hasn't been the same factor in the red zone this season. Terrelle Pryor has averaged 7.3 catches for 88 yards and 1.0 touchdown in three full games with Kessler, so no problems there. Corey Coleman played mostly with Robert Griffin III early in the season, so he's something of a wild card.
Browns coach Hue Jackson announced Friday he chose Kessler over veteran Josh McCown.
Jackson said the Browns need to find out whether Kessler can be their quarterback of the future. They're armed with two first-round picks in next year's draft.
"That's a fair assessment because that's why he's playing because I need to know," Jackson said. "I don't want to just say if he does great that doesn't mean that we're not going to draft a quarterback because I think you've got to always have quarterbacks. You've got to keep taking shots until you have the guy that you feel is going to do what you need done."
There were three games this season in which Kessler attempted 30 or more passes. In those games, Duke Johnson has averaged 5.0 catches, so he's a safe play in PPR formats. Over the past two years, Gary Barnidge's yardage with and without Kessler are about the same, though he hasn't been the same factor in the red zone this season. Terrelle Pryor has averaged 7.3 catches for 88 yards and 1.0 touchdown in three full games with Kessler, so no problems there. Corey Coleman played mostly with Robert Griffin III early in the season, so he's something of a wild card.
Friday, October 28, 2016, 6:30pm
Browns QB Josh McCown (left shoulder) took full practice reps all week. McCown will start in Week 8. It’s an upgrade for Gary Barnidge, who averaged 5.8 catches for 80 yards and 0.75 TD in the eight games McCown played last year. Barnidge posted 4-37 on five targets in McCown’s lone game this year. Duke Johnson also gets a bump after catching 4.8 passes for 44 yards with McCown last year. He caught 4-44 (5) in McCown’s one start earlier this year. Terrelle Pryor was targeted 10 times by McCown in that game, catching three passes for 32 yards.
Kessler was checked on the sidelines for a concussion and was diagnosed with one after jogging clear across the field to the locker room. Based on his long jog to the locker room, the concussion is not severe, but he's in the concussion protocol and must be cleared by an independent neurologist. As the evening wore on, he felt good and was already looking ahead to the Jets game, the story all said.
Cody Kessler, the Browns’ third starting quarterback this season, was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a concussion. He was stepping up in the pocket and right after delivering a backhanded flip to tight end Gary Barnidge, he was hit from the side by Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko.
Kessler had a hard time getting up, then was taken out of the game and back to the locker room. The team said he was being evaluated for a concussion, then ruled him out shortly after.
Friday, October 14, 2016, 6:25pm
Thursday, October 13, 2016, 7:01pm
Wednesday, October 12, 2016, 6:42pm
The injury is undisclosed at this point.
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