Although the Philadelphia Eagles already have a dynamic duo at wide receiver in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, they are also doing some last-minute homework on Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Could the former Buckeyes star be a target for the Eagles with the 10th overall pick?
Latest Eagles News and Rumors Surrounding Jaxon Smith-Njigba
According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, the Eagles are showing some recent interest in the former Buckeyes star WR. As Pauline points out in his NFL Draft rumors roundup, Smith-Njigba is widely regarded as the top WR in the 2023 NFL Draft and is expected to be the first one selected on Thursday night.
Smith-Njigba has certainly been busy during the pre-draft process, as he has reportedly had top-30 visits with at least seven different teams.
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Ohio State offensive coordinator and wide receiver coach Brian Hartline was asked earlier this month on an episode of “Bussin’ With The Boys” to rank his top five wide receivers that he has worked with during his coaching tenure. While nobody was surprised to hear Marvin Harrison Jr. as Hartline’s first overall choice, it was noteworthy to hear him rank Smith-Njigba as his second overall selection.
Hartline has worked with several NFL-caliber WRs during his tenure at Ohio State since 2017. Therefore it’s certainly intriguing to hear Smith-Njigba listed ahead of players such as Garrett Wilson, Terry McLaurin, and Chris Olave. Ohio State has become a WR powerhouse in recent years and Smith-Njigba could certainly be the next to become an elite pass catcher in the NFL.
Why Would the Eagles Target Jaxon Smith-Njigba?
While it’s easy to dismiss the report of Philadelphia’s interest in Smith-Njigba as a potential smokescreen, there are legitimate reasons for the team to be interested in drafting the best WR in the 2023 NFL Draft. During their impressive run to Super Bowl 52, Philadelphia was lucky to avoid any major injuries at various key positions.
One of those positions was WR, where A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith were consistent forces in their passing attack. Looking at their depth chart, if either of those players were forced to miss time due to an injury, Philadelphia would be forced to rely on Quez Watkins or recently signed Olamide Zaccheaus as their next best options.
While both of those players could certainly be viable as Philadelphia’s third option, they just aren’t in the same stratosphere as Smith-Njigba.
MORE: Top 10 WRs in the 2023 NFL Draft
During his time at Ohio State, Smith-Njigba already proved that he can operate alongside two other star wide receivers. He played next to Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave in 2021 and actually led the Buckeyes in both receptions and receiving yards with 95 receptions for 1,606 yards and 9 touchdowns. Given that he plays primarily in the slot, Smith-Njigba would compliment Brown and Smith well in Philadelphia.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie spoke at the NFL Owners’ Meeting in March and had some noteworthy comments regarding the importance of offense in today’s game. “Offenses dominate in this league,” Lurie said. “When you come to games with great quarterbacks, offenses dominate in this league.”
If the owner in Philadelphia believes that offenses win championships, it’s easy to believe why the Eagles are showing recent interest in Smith-Njigba. The top WR in the 2023 NFL Draft would certainly help Philadelphia remain one of the best offenses in the NFL and ensure that they surround Jalen Hurts with elite weapons for the foreseeable future.
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