Seahawks Draft: Expert breaks down mock picks of Carter, Smith-Njigba

Feb 16, 2023, 9:46 AM | Updated: 10:32 am
Seahawks draft Jaxon Smith-Njigba...
Jaxon Smith-Njigba of the Ohio State Buckeyes scores a touchdown against the Utah Utes in the Rose Bowl on January 01, 2022. (Harry How/Getty Images)
(Harry How/Getty Images)

The Seahawks will enter the 2023 NFL Draft ready to make a big splash as they’re armed with not one but two first-round picks, including the No. 5 overall pick.

Seahawks Draft: Can Carter or Anderson fall to Seattle at No. 5?

There have been a number of names tied for the Seahawks in various mock drafts this offseason, and in NFL Draft insider Ryan Wilson‘s latest mock for CBS Sports, he had Seattle taking two big-name players from two of the top programs in college football. At No. 5 overall, Wilson had Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter going to the Seahawks. At 20, it was Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba landing with Seattle.

Why those two for the Seahawks? And what makes them great prospects?

Wilson joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Wednesday and broke down those two players.

Jalen Carter

Carter is a two-time national champion and was a unanimous All-American in 2022.

The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Carter is seen as one of the two top defenders in this year’s draft class.

“They’re sitting there (at) five and the great news is if you want a defensive playmaker, you’re gonna have your pick of the lot,” Wilson said.

Carter was an anchor of Georgia’s championship defense in 2022 after shining in 2021 when he played on a defensive line with three 2022 first-round picks.

Carter is an impressive athlete for his size who can shut down the run and also pressure opposing quarterbacks.

“If you’re looking for a nit to pick, maybe he wasn’t in the best shape of his life down the stretch in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “He had to come off a couple times and he look winded. But in the list of things you worry about with a prospect, conditioning should be on the bottom of the list because you’re dominating play after play if you’re unblockable play after play, if you’re in the backfield wreaking havoc play after play. Those are the things that make you a top-five pick… Jalen Carter, he’s better than (defensive tackle) Jordan Davis coming out of Georgia, and Jordan Davis was 13th overall last year for the Eagles … Jalen Carter could end up being the best defensive player on this Georgia team from the last two years and last year to they had five first-round picks.”

Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Smith-Njigba was a third-team All-American in 2021 for the Buckeyes, and he capped off a stellar campaign that season with 15 receptions for 347 yards in the Rose Bowl.

The Seahawks’ top needs are the front of their defense as well as interior offensive line, so why does Wilson think Smith-Njigba would be a good pick at 20 overall?

“In terms of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, he played three games and had five catches (in 2022). But when you look back to last season in 2021, he led that team in receptions – more than (2022 first-round receivers) Garrett Wilson (and) Chris Olave, more than (2022 All-American) Marvin Harrison Jr.,” Wilson said. “And Garrett Wilson was on set with us last week and he said Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the best wide receiver of that group … But we forget how good he is because he we haven’t seen him.”

Smith-Njigba, who is 6-feet tall and roughly 200 pounds, played almost exclusively out of the slot at Ohio State. Wilson said he needs to run a good time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in order to solidify his status as a first-round pick.

“But he’s played fast when you watch him on tape,” Wilson said. “He can do a lot of things in the confines of what we saw at Ohio State, and he did it alongside and better than Olave and Wilson.”

“So I love the idea. Tyler Lockett is getting a little older. I mean he’s still a great player, but he’s not gonna play forever,” Wilson added. “… And Smith-Njigba is something of a security blanket, if you will.”

As we get closer to the draft, however, Wilson thinks he’ll have a different player going to the Seahawks with the No. 20 overall pick.

“At the end of the day, if this is the final mock draft, I think I’m doubling down on defensive players because the offense wasn’t the issue (for the Seahawks in 2022),” Wilson said.

Listen to Wyman and Bob’s full conversation with Wilson at this link or in the player below.

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