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TE Chigoziem Okonkwo, TEN (1 Viewer)

Former Maryland TE Chigoziem Okonkwo earned "all-around praise" at the East-West Shrine Bowl.

Okonkwo (6'2/244) enters the 2022 NFL Draft as a member of a loaded tight end class. During his final season with the Terrapins, Okonkwo set out to prove that he belongs in the NFL, and strung together a solid season with a receiving line of 52-447-5 after catching just 25 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns in his first two seasons combined. Oknokwo won't be viewed as one of the top tight ends in this year's draft class, but some buzz following the Shrine Bowl practices could certainly help boost his stock in the coming months. According to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, Okonkwo looked like a possession tight end, while Brett Kollman of "The Film Room" was impressed with his blocking. 

SOURCE: 247Sports.com

Feb 8, 2022, 8:24 PM ET


Maryland TE Chigoziem Okonkwo posted a 4.54 on his first attempt, and a 4.52 second attempt at the 40-yard dash. 

Okonkwo (6'2"/244) impressed at the Shrine Bowl, and has now started well at the combine. He's on the shorter side for a tight end, but that speed is no joke. He's got the fastest time so far by quite the margin. He was fast enough to be used on screens at Maryland, and posted a nice 447 yard, five touchdown stat line in 2021. 

SOURCE: The Draft Network on Twitter

Mar 3, 2022, 4:27 PM ET


Maryland TE Chigoziem Okonkwo performed well against press coverage over his college career.

Okonkwo (6'2/244) is a player who was once under-the-radar who has seen his draft stock rise and has impressed in offseason events like the Shrine Bowl ahead of the 2022 NFL Draft. He found a good amount of success on the college gridiron, particularly exceptional against press coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Okonkwo's 88.6 receiving grade against press coverage was the highest among college football tight ends last season.

Apr 3, 2022, 3:36 PM ET


Titans selected Maryland TE Chigoziem Okonkwo with the No. 143 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Okonkwo (6'3/238) spent four seasons at Maryland, missing his junior season with myocarditis. He returned in 2021 with a career-best 52-447-5 receiving line. Just under 6-foot-3, he's short for the position but offers impressive speed with a 4.52 40. Okonkwo was never heavily involved as a receiver, with an 11% career yardage share. He'll likely serve as a depth option in the mold of James O'Shaughnessy. In Tennessee, Okonkwo will bring up the rear of the depth chart behind newcomer Austin Hooper and veterans Geoff Swaim and Tommy Hudson.

Apr 30, 2022, 1:58 PM ET

 
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He's gonna have to produce some. Probably not much and Hooper will get the lion's share but they simply do not have the WRs. 

Firkser was useful here n there and that's probably his role 

 
He's gonna have to produce some. Probably not much and Hooper will get the lion's share but they simply do not have the WRs. 

Firkser was useful here n there and that's probably his role 
He’s been compared to Jonnu. Not sure I buy into that, but the raw potential is there. Third string for now but just maybe he can develop into more. 

 
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Can he block?
Yes. There was a lot of good comments in writeups of him and from draft guys and Sirrius too. 

His negatives were typical hands (not great or some adjective) and hasn't learned to box out always using his athleticism instead. Capable catcher don't get me wrong just not a wow guy.

Titans have had great TE coaches so he seems like an easy fix for them.

From 2018 to 2021 they lined a TE up in odd spots and often just moved him to the expected in line spot presnap. They wanted to see the D respond and get him as an outside/slot blocker on a smaller DB. Able to have Jonnu and Corey (two big tough blockers) outside where Henry thrives was a key concept. They didn't have that TE in 2022. He might be that guy for this to return. He has to be athletic enough (stats say he is) to catch a handful of passes from the slot or it won't work smoothly.

He's not beating out Hooper but that and a Firkser role could get him a nice game here n there.

 
Negative reports recently?

Vrabel twice that he must improve his blocking.

Downing asked about Vrabel's concern said they're going to have to move him around, find spots for him to contribute. Can't ask him to block a DE like some of the bigger guys.

It's something to chew on really.

The Titans have an excellent FB in Tory Carter who played TE his senior year. Was top HS FB and top college FB twice. Old school classic type. Henry loves a FB and always has. Tannehill got sacked way too much last year. The FB maybe gets 15 percent of snaps.

Firkser wasn't re-signed and could never develop inline blocking ability. He had a role against zone defenses on third down. He really did almost nothing otherwise. Very curious role.

Blasingame is gone after being unseated by Carter. He was a former college RB and did lineup at different spots but rarely got a pass or carry.

Swaim is fine at TE. Decent hands, decent blocker. Experienced. Hooper of course is the top TE.

Chig needs to find a spot.

A 4.5 TE, with hands and excellent lateral ability brings something to contribute but.....where? How?

Right now all I can see is an inactive backup FB. Blasingame was slow for a RB and...I don't know where to put this guy but most options are "well no can't do that."

Camp will be interesting because this isn't a rookie pegged for a role but one almost inviting them to create one for him.

 
Titans beat writer John Glennon reports TE Chigoziem Okonkwo has impressed in the Titans' passing drills.

Okonkwo was drafted by the Titans with the 143rd overall pick in this year's draft. An elite athlete who boasts a 4.52 40-yard dash, Okonkwo closed out his time at Maryland with a receiving line of 52-447-5. Glennon writes that Okonkwo's stock has "risen consistently ever since he took the field for minicamp." Ryan Tannehill also praised the rookie for the strides he made during minicamp and noted his physicality, strength and speed as something that can make for another "weapon" in Tennessee's offense. Okonkwo won't be cracking the top of Tennessee's depth chart any time soon, with veteran free agent signing Austin Hooper locked into the starting role, and Geoff Swaim behind him. However, early reports of the rookie's progress are encouraging for those stashing him on their dynasty taxi squads.

RELATED: 

Austin Hooper

SOURCE: Sports Illustrated

Jun 16, 2022, 8:29 PM ET

 

Chigoziem Okonkwo caught 4-of-5 targets for 68 yards in the Titans' Week 13 loss to the Eagles.​

Okonkwo led the Titans in receiving yards on a bad day for the offense as a whole. The Titans lost their top wide receiver, Treylon Burks, to a concussion in the first quarter. Okonkwo stepped up, while the rest of the receivers did not. No other receiver had more than Burks' 25 yards, which came on one TD reception. Okonkwo is mostly a dynasty stash but seems to be making a case that he is the most fantasy-relevant tight end in Tennessee.
Dec 4, 2022, 5:53 PM ET
 
Offensive coordinator Todd Downing said Thursday that Okonkwo has earned more opportunities, and the Titans have looked at drawing up more ways to get him the football.

Austin Hooper remains the Titans' starting tight end and continues to hold an important role as a blocker and short-yardage target, but Okonkwo, a fourth-round rookie out of Maryland, appears poised to poach more work from both Hooper and Geoff Swaim.

For the first time all season in the Week 13 loss to the Eagles, Okonkwo played more snaps (31) than both Hooper (26) and Swaim (20), finishing the day with four receptions for 68 yards on five targets. Okonkwo has now drawn five targets in consecutive games, and the big-play ability he's demonstrated -- he leads all NFL tight ends with three 40-yard receptions this season -- has him in position to see even more involvement in the passing game.

The Titans could look to Okonkwo for snaps as a wide receiver, given that the position group is already short on impact contributors and could be further depleted this Sunday against the Jaguars with Treylon Burks in the concussion protocol and uncertain to be available.

(for the season Hooper has played 44% of his snaps in the slot or outside, Chig 29%. Swaim is almost exclusively an in-line blocking TE - less than 5% lining up as a WR.)

Edit: 21 routes run Week 13. That’s still a few below the rule of thumb of 23 rr for consistent TE production, and of course the Titans remain a low ceiling passing attack.

But with Burks almost certain to miss Week 14 Chig could be an interesting bye week cover/WTH flex. Jax has given up the 11th most FF points allowed to TEs this season.
 
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I have been quietly following him for a few weeks now, he is looking good and starting to get more attention now. I'm not sure how much you can really expect from him this year but could certainly be worth streaming at TE with some upside potential if you are desperate. Longer-term he has a lot of potential but might be limited by Tennessee's dismal offense.
 
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On board, have a share, but this train probably has way too large a head of steam. Check pre-draft profiles: questionable hands, limited route tree, willing but iffy blocking technique, smallish size. Hope he outplays these limitations (and/or scouting fails) but my hopes are low, especially considering the opportunity in TEN.
 
On board, have a share, but this train probably has way too large a head of steam. Check pre-draft profiles: questionable hands, limited route tree, willing but iffy blocking technique, smallish size. Hope he outplays these limitations (and/or scouting fails) but my hopes are low, especially considering the opportunity in TEN.
Valid concerns predraft. At this point I feel good about his ability to track the ball in the air and make difficult catches (Green Bay game comes to mind and that’s when I decided to add him everywhere) He’s been awesome after the catch also. Not sure yet how well he can catch in traffic or if he can block well enough to earn a full time role. Long way to go but I’m thinking Njoku as an upside comp.
 
The rest of the season is big for him...he has started to flash and appears to be carving out a role in this offense...if he builds off of these last few weeks and the Titans don't add anything too big at the TE position this offseason he will be one of those guys we will be discussing a lot going into the 2023 season...right now with the way the TE position has been he is a very solid hold in Dynasty.
 
The rest of the season is big for him...he has started to flash and appears to be carving out a role in this offense...if he builds off of these last few weeks and the Titans don't add anything too big at the TE position this offseason he will be one of those guys we will be discussing a lot going into the 2023 season...right now with the way the TE position has been he is a very solid hold in Dynasty.
Agreed - there often seems to be TEs that come out of nowhere and he could be one.

May take the whole offseason to learn how to spell and pronounce his name.
 
Still not the blocker he needs to be. He looks more big WR than TE so he probably needs weight and muscle and usual stuff.
Few snaps wide, few in the backfield, several at TE and some at the slot making stats guys debate if that's current NFL TE spot or a WR spot.
He ran some of his routes improperly and got in the way rather than a smooth pick. He ran a route when his job was to block.
He had a productive day when the Titans had no WR help. It definitely makes my ears perk up to see the production and hear how if he works on this n that he could be so much more. Ya gotta spend some dynasty $ on that. Definitely has to have hit radars now.
 
Still not the blocker he needs to be. He looks more big WR than TE so he probably needs weight and muscle and usual stuff.
Few snaps wide, few in the backfield, several at TE and some at the slot making stats guys debate if that's current NFL TE spot or a WR spot.
He ran some of his routes improperly and got in the way rather than a smooth pick. He ran a route when his job was to block.
He had a productive day when the Titans had no WR help. It definitely makes my ears perk up to see the production and hear how if he works on this n that he could be so much more. Ya gotta spend some dynasty $ on that. Definitely has to have hit radars now.

Appreciate the context, as someone who didn’t see the game.

On some level I wonder how much the blocking side matters as ultimately it may just determine where his upside places on the spectrum of Delanie walker to a (hopefully) non-concussed Jordan reed? But
cleaning up the mental mistakes is big. Luckily as a rookie who’s showing pretty well at this point I’d guess he will get his chances to do so

Edit: also I assume this guys name is pronounced chig-o-zeem but my brain really wants it to be pronounced like linoleum
 
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He had a productive day when the Titans had no WR help.
That would be my concern long term in what will likely be a low volume passing offense. For now with Burks out, looks he’s going to get nice volume. But what happens when Burks is there and they also add a better secondary WR than Woods?
 
He had a productive day when the Titans had no WR help.
That would be my concern long term in what will likely be a low volume passing offense. For now with Burks out, looks he’s going to get nice volume. But what happens when Burks is there and they also add a better secondary WR than Woods?

I think it all depends on how long Henry is Henry...he is far from the norm and once he declines, they will probably change how they play offense.
 
Titans haven’t had a Top 12 TE since Vrabel took over / since Derrick became King Henry (2018-22.) Move TEs who can’t block won’t work.

But as @Boston pointed out, different story once Henry declines…

Won’t be breaking out this year (IMO) but Chig is an interesting player long term.
 
It was also a spot against the worst defense at defending TEs, so there’s that. Felt like a deliberate scheme thing. I expect very few games this robust in the future.
 
He had a productive day when the Titans had no WR help.
That would be my concern long term in what will likely be a low volume passing offense. For now with Burks out, looks he’s going to get nice volume. But what happens when Burks is there and they also add a better secondary WR than Woods?
He's up there as far as top athletes at TE. Like I said, you'd probably peg him as a big WR. So he's going to continue to present a matchup problem. How productive is sure debatable and questionable. He's a lot like a young Jared Cook right now.
Not a lot of TEs can line up in the backfield and all over.

We'll need to see who their OC is next year and if they can finally add some quality tackles. They're cap strapped and a bad season looks sadly probable for 2023.

He should have a decent amount of opportunity in a mishmash offense next year. If he doesn't develop or his unique role doesn't develop more, I'd cut bait. Ya gotta give him next year though for dynasty.

Young Jonnu was a great downfield blocker and proper technique in-line but he wasn't successful. He needed to have his blocking tweaked/coached up.
That's not Chig. His feet were one forward from the other, hands to belly, hands to helmet, losing balance so he lunges forward as a last ditch effort. It was very awkward looking. Lately his feet are good, his hands are good, but the well built guy appears too weak....then he lunges at the DL and loses.

Vrabel is constantly teaching (probably a bit obsessed) everyone of hand placement and push n all. There's definite hope he can block in-line and remove any question of usage but...for now, ya just gotta wait n see.
 
It was also a spot against the worst defense at defending TEs, so there’s that. Felt like a deliberate scheme thing. I expect very few games this robust in the future.
Burks is nowhere near good enough to beat a top CB regularly.
That'll probably take a year or two of fine tuning if he does.
That should be enough of an opportunity for Chig to learn by his side.
They're 20 mil over the cap and most prospective veteran cuts will cost to be released AND Simmons is owed a huge deal. They won't have "sign a good WR" money. At best they'll have a drafted WR that needs to develop too. They love the oft injured Phillips so I wouldn't project a high pick there.

Articles of their demise were pretty common last week when the GM was fired. It has to get worse before it can get better.

I expect next year to look like the Falcons and them switched places
 
For the life of me, I can't get this out of my head whenever I see his name.

You have to be of at least a certain age to remember it.
 
It was also a spot against the worst defense at defending TEs, so there’s that. Felt like a deliberate scheme thing. I expect very few games this robust in the future.
Has a month of ascending numbers, and his efficiency numbers are great, according to the analytic nerds on my Twitter.

Considering the dynasty landscape future is two guys, I think this guy is a serious BUY.

Same with redraft. If there are 6 teams in your playoffs, 4 of them don't have a TE worth a crap.
 
It was also a spot against the worst defense at defending TEs, so there’s that. Felt like a deliberate scheme thing. I expect very few games this robust in the future.
Has a month of ascending numbers, and his efficiency numbers are great, according to the analytic nerds on my Twitter.

Considering the dynasty landscape future is two guys, I think this guy is a serious BUY.

Same with redraft. If there are 6 teams in your playoffs, 4 of them don't have a TE worth a crap.
I expect a significant drop off back to the 4 to 10 points a week that he was doing for the last month.

But with the landscape at tight end, even that makes him a decent buy.
 
For the life of me, I can't get this out of my head whenever I see his name.

You have to be of at least a certain age to remember it.

Wow...serious blast from the blast...loved that show although you had to be wrapped in aluminum foil and touching the antenna to get good reception.
 
It was also a spot against the worst defense at defending TEs, so there’s that. Felt like a deliberate scheme thing. I expect very few games this robust in the future.
Has a month of ascending numbers, and his efficiency numbers are great, according to the analytic nerds on my Twitter.

Considering the dynasty landscape future is two guys, I think this guy is a serious BUY.

Same with redraft. If there are 6 teams in your playoffs, 4 of them don't have a TE worth a crap.
I expect a significant drop off back to the 4 to 10 points a week that he was doing for the last month.

But with the landscape at tight end, even that makes him a decent buy.
That's fair, 4-10.
He's definitely not "arrived" and "just a special athlete" at this point.
After the top few, TE scoring seems to be entirely TD dependent. It's kind of simple but it's nice to have a TE in dynasty with a high ceiling for the years ahead.
For me, the Colts rookie can't really beat out the others. Bellinger gets these dump passes (which is odd and a whole nother discussion) that make me wonder how he'll do when he gets traditional TE targets, but the guy can't stay healthy. On and on....Chig is my choice for dynasty end of bench see what happens.
 
It was also a spot against the worst defense at defending TEs, so there’s that. Felt like a deliberate scheme thing. I expect very few games this robust in the future.
Has a month of ascending numbers, and his efficiency numbers are great, according to the analytic nerds on my Twitter.

Considering the dynasty landscape future is two guys, I think this guy is a serious BUY.

Same with redraft. If there are 6 teams in your playoffs, 4 of them don't have a TE worth a crap.
I expect a significant drop off back to the 4 to 10 points a week that he was doing for the last month.

But with the landscape at tight end, even that makes him a decent buy.
That's fair, 4-10.
He's definitely not "arrived" and "just a special athlete" at this point.
After the top few, TE scoring seems to be entirely TD dependent. It's kind of simple but it's nice to have a TE in dynasty with a high ceiling for the years ahead.
For me, the Colts rookie can't really beat out the others. Bellinger gets these dump passes (which is odd and a whole nother discussion) that make me wonder how he'll do when he gets traditional TE targets, but the guy can't stay healthy. On and on....Chig is my choice for dynasty end of bench see what happens.
Oh I agree totally. I have a hoard of roughshot potentially productive TE dart throws in both my dynasty leagues. In my Pitts league, I have Likely, Conklin, Fortson, Gray, and Juwan Johnson. They're all dart throws, but any of them could become relevant given the instability at the position.

I'm ticked the trade deadline passed, because one of the playoff teams just offered me a 2024 2nd for Conklin out of sheer desperation - I was pissed I couldn't accept it. But the point is that since TE is a wasteland, they can occasionally see a value spike.

If I had Chig, I'd probably be shoping him in the offseason when trading opened up again.
 
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