‘Pretty dangerous’: Smith-Njigba talks joining Seahawks’ WR room

Apr 28, 2023, 2:30 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2023, 3:57 pm

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba...

Jaxon Smith-Njigba of the Ohio State Buckeyes catches a touchdown pass on Jan. 1, 2022. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

With the 20th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seattle Seahawks added a new weapon to their offense in Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Seattle Seahawks Draft Breakdown: A look at every 2023 NFL Draft pick

Smith-Njigba was the first receiver taken in this year’s draft – and the first of four in a row taken between picks 20 and 23 – as well as the highest-drafted receiver the Seahawks have had under head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider since that duo came to Seattle in 2010.

During an interview on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy on Friday, the newest Seahawks receiver called his draft day experience “surreal” and said that he was just waiting for the moment a team called him.

“Super excited and happy Seattle did,” he said.

Did Smith-Njigba have a feeling he’d be coming to the Seahawks?

“I didn’t know, really. I knew that we had a good interview and I really liked the coaches and the meeting that we had at my pro day,” he said. “But I thought maybe it could happen because I knew me lined up next to the receivers they already had would be pretty dangerous. So I was definitely happy they made the decision to get me.”

Reaction: Why Seahawks drafted WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba at 20

Smith-Njigba joins a Seahawks team that has struggled to find a consistent third go-to target in the passing game for a few years now. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett made a dynamic duo in 2018, but Baldwin retired that offseason. After that, the Seahawks added DK Metcalf to the squad, and he and Lockett have been one of the NFL’s top receiver tandems since 2019. But after those two, the Hawks’ passing game has been inconsistent in regards to a true No. 3 option.

Smith-Njigba will look to change that narrative.

“I think having my skillset, it’s (about) being able to be versatile. I’m fine with whatever. Wherever the coaches want to line me up, I’ll just do what I do,” he said. “I’m excited, looking forward to this offense that has great offensive minds and an offensive coordinator and the quarterback, of course. Just looking forward to it, you know? I can line up wherever and hopefully create a lot of mismatches for whoever’s out there on the field.”

Smith-Njigba had just five catches in 2022 due to a hamstring injury, but he showcased his talent in 2021 for the Buckeyes when he caught 95 passes for nine touchdowns and more than 1,600 yards while earning All-American honors. He also did that in an on offense that featured two 2022 first-round picks in Garrett Wilson (New York Jets) and Chris Olave (New Orleans Saints).

So what can we expect to see from Smith-Njiba when he suits up for the Seahawks? He shared what it is he does best on the football field.

“I would say getting open, honestly,” he said. “I mean, man-to-man, beat your man, zone coverage, find your zone. I think I’m a reliable target, so hopefully I can push that forward at the next level.”

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

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