Seahawks add to WR room at No. 20 with OSU’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Apr 27, 2023, 7:42 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2023, 3:58 pm
Throughout the offseason, one of the most common names mocked to the Seattle Seahawks with the No. 20 pick was Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba. That ultimately proved to be true as the Hawks made Smith-Njigba the first receiver off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Seattle Seahawks Draft Breakdown: A look at every 2023 NFL Draft pick
The Seahawks added to what’s already a great wide receiver room with Smith-Njigba, who joins DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett as top-end weapons for quarterback Geno Smith.
Smith-Njigba was a star for the Buckeyes in 2021, catching 95 passes for over 1,600 yards and nine touchdowns from C.J. Stroud, the No. 2 overall pick this year.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is taking his talents to Seattle with the 20th pick‼️ #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/9dMHhjwiJe
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 28, 2023
But after that All-American campaign, which included a 347-yard performance against Utah in the Rose Bowl, Smith-Njigba caught just five passes in three games in 2022 due to a hamstring injury.
Smith-Njigba isn’t a “burner” receiver with elite speed like Metcalf or Lockett, but he’s very shift and is seen as one of the top route runners in this year’s draft class. During a draft profile leading up to Thursday’s first round, former NFL quarterback and current Seattle Sports host Brock Huard called Smith-Njigba “cold-blooded” at the receiver position.
“He has been a calculated, cold-blooded killer as a route runner,” Huard said.
Seahawks Draft Profile: ‘Cold-blooded’ OSU WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Smith-Njigba profiles as a slot receiver in the NFL with his skill set and size (6 foot 1, 196 pounds).
“He’s not your bonafide ‘put them outside and put them No. 1 and he can beat anybody in this league’ (type of guy),” Huard said during that profile. “He is a slot receiver that can destroy any nickelback in this league, and I do feel comfortable saying that.”
Seattle’s No. 5 pick, Devon Witherspoon, was the highest-drafted cornerback of the Pete Carroll-John Schneider era dating back to 2010. That’s also the case for Smith-Njigba, who is the first wide receiver this Seahawks regime has selected in the first round.
2023 Seattle Seahawks draft picks
• First round (5th overall): Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon
• First round (20th overall): Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba
• Second round (37th overall): Auburn edge Derick Hall
• Second round (52nd overall): UCLA RB Zach Charbonnet
• Fourth round (108th overall): LSU guard Anthony Bradford
• Fourth round (123rd overall): Mississippi State defensive tackle Cameron Young
• Fifth round (151st overall): Michigan edge Mike Morris
• Fifth round (15th overall): Michigan center Olusegun Oluwatimi
• Sixth round (198th overall): New Mexico safety Jerrick Reed II
• Seventh round (237th overall): Georgia RB Kenny McIntosh