When the Seattle Seahawks selected Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 20th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, they picked the perfect receiver to take their offense to the next level.
Already having electric receivers in their offense, in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, adding in another receiver was needed if Seattle was going to go a step further in the 2023 season. Having operated out of the slot for most of the snaps at Ohio State, Smith-Njigba possesses the qualities that are the perfect addition to the Seahawks’ receiver room.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba Will Slot Right Into the Seahawks’ Offense
The former Ohio State Buckeye was the first receiver taken despite only playing in three games in 2022 due to a hamstring injury. But, in 2021, he was one of the most productive receivers in college football, and how he is able to win from the inside influenced Seattle’s decision to select him.
Speaking to Seattle Sports Radio on Monday, head coach Pete Carroll said that adding a third receiver had been a priority for them this offseason. Carroll also stated what JSN can do to complement the rest of the Seahawks’ receiving corps, led them to the selection, saying, “We wanted to complement Tyler (Lockett) and DK (Metcalf) and make sure that we could maximize how we use those guys, and it did mean for us to come up with a guy that we could count on to play inside.”
There should be little doubt that Smith-Njigba will be the slot receiver in Seattle — the position he had immense success playing in 2021. That season, Smith-Njigba had 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 16.9 yards per reception.
MORE: FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator — With Trades
A true slot receiver is something that Seattle has been searching for, with both Metcalf and Lockett having to contribute snaps from the inside in 2022. Playing Smith-Njigba in the slot doesn’t just allow him to be successful, it also allows others to flourish.
The Seahawks ranked 13th in total offense in 2022, vastly ahead of where anyone predicted. But the passing attack was heavily reliant on their two star receivers. After Metcalf with 90 receptions and Lockett with 84, the next receiver in total receptions was Marquise Goodwin with 27.
Adding another productive and persistent weapon will only give QB Geno Smith and the Seahawks’ offense more opportunity to make plays, leading him to be the perfect fit in the Pacific Northwest.
What Jaxon Smith-Njigba Will Add
We already know that Smith-Njigba will operate mainly from the slot, which will free up Lockett and Metcalf on the outside. With their speed and dynamic threat on the outside, JSN will be there to vacuum up space in the middle of the field, racking up catches and yards.
Our NFL Draft Analyst Ian Cummings wrote the scouting report on Smith-Njigba, saying that he “combined elite agility, spatial awareness, and nuance as a separator.” Getting that elite ability to catch through traffic, find pockets of space, and get yards after the catch makes this Seattle offense one of the scariest in the NFC.
Furthermore, Smith-Njigba also won’t be short of confidence, and he won’t be phased to enter a room that already has established NFL stars.
Smith-Nijgba’s success at Ohio State came with both Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson in the same receiving corps — both first-rounders in the 2022 NFL Draft. They’re also both on record saying that Smith-Njigba was the best receiver in that room. Then, in 2022, while he only played in three games, JSN had both Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, who are potential first-rounders in the 2024 NFL Draft.
It isn’t just what Smith-Njigba will be able to accomplish individually that makes him such a perfect fit for this offense, it’s how he’ll open up the offense for others to thrive. Having three big-time playmaking receivers on the field — as well as dynamic running backs Kenneth Walker III and Zach Charbonnet — will be difficult to defend and will open up options for Smith.
MORE: 2023 Seattle Seahawks NFL Schedule
Playing in a fierce division ladened with pass-rushing ability, Smith’s ability to get the ball out quickly and trust his receiver to come away with the ball will be vital. He’ll get that in Smith-Njigba, who is a reliable, dependable, and consistent weapon. JSN will also be able to attack the intermediate areas and get Smith out of hazardous situations.
In his opening press conference, Smith-Njigba made reference to the wide receiver room in Seattle. “Those guys on the outside running, I think it’ll be a good fit. Just having three dangerous weapons for Geno, it’s going to be awesome.”
He sees it as a good fit, but it could be the perfect one and one that could allow this Seahawks offense to take it to the next level.
Leave a Reply