Prior to the 2022 season, many within the Tennessee Titans’ community had hoped that fourth-round tight end, Chigoziem Okonkwo, could one day replicate the impact Jonnu Smith once had in Tennessee.
It only took the Maryland product one season to top Smith’s career-high of 448 receiving yards. On top of that, the Georgia native also led every rookie tight end in yards (450) and broken tackles (seven), while also being tied for the most touchdowns (three) amongst his first-year peers.
Okonkwo’s electric season has earned him some notable recognition in the form of being selected to All-Rookie teams by various credible platforms.
Sports Info Solutions said this about the Titans’ tight end after naming him its top rookie tight end:
A 4th-round TE, Okonkwo stepped up as a huge receiving threat for the Titans in 2022. Among TEs with at least 25 targets on the season, Okonkwo’s 2.9 yards per route run were a half-yard higher than second-place Travis Kelce’s 2.4, albeit with just 46 targets.
He also led TEs with 14.1 yards per reception, ranked 2nd with 9.8 yards per target, and 5th in receiver rating (122.6). As a blocker, he was called for only a single-blown block, with none coming on 139 run-blocking snaps.
The Athletic then went on to say this after it also chose Chig as this year’s top first-year tight end:
Chig Okonkwo filled the vacant Jonnu Smith role in the Titans offense, which had been missing since Smith signed with the Patriots.
The rookie is an explosive-play threat every time he touches the ball and was getting plays drawn up for him by season’s end. He’s a really fun player who can give defenses fits with his speed and receiving ability.
Lastly, Pro Football Focus gave Okonkwo the highest overall grade (75.4), as well as the highest receiving grade (84.6) among rookies. Unsurprisingly, he was named to their All-rookie team as well, with the reason being:
Okonkwo led all first-year tight ends in yards (450), scores (3), and broken tackles (7), even though he didn’t start for most of the season. Better yet, Okonkwo’s 2.61 yards per route run actually led all tight ends in the NFL; it’s just that he saw the field for only 378 snaps.
Making Chig’s rookie numbers even more impressive is the fact that he compiled them without seeing much work over the first eight weeks.
Perhaps the most impressive stats pertaining to the rookie is his yards per route run at 2.61, which ranked third in the NFL behind wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Justin Jefferson.
It’s clear that the Titans have a budding star on their hands with their young playmaker. On behalf of the rest of the fanbase, I beg the next offensive coordinator for one thing: