BROCK AND SALK

Huard: Jaxon Smith-Njigba a combo of 2 Seahawks WR legends

May 8, 2023, 11:30 AM

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba...

Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba against Utah in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 2022. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks have a new weapon in the slot in first-round NFL Draft selection Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and Seattle Sports’ Brock Huard sees big things in his future.

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Why? Because when Huard, a former NFL quarterback and current FOX college football analyst, looks at Smith-Njigba, he sees shades of not just one but two of the best slot wide receivers in Seahawks history.

“I was thinking about Jaxon Smith-Njigba as a slot receiver, and there have been two great, great ones with the Seahawks,” Huard said during Monday’s edition of Brock and Salk. “One of them had an unbelievable spatial awareness, and one of them had a short-area quickness that he could never be covered. One was Bobby Engram, and one was Doug Baldwin, and this kid incorporates both with more size. … His skillset and his physical attributes are off the charts.”

Smith-Njigba checks in at 6 foot 1 and 196 pounds, which is three inches taller and four pounds heavier than both Engram and Baldwin were during their playing careers.

“Bobby was kind of strong, and Joe Paterno called him the greatest football player – not even receiver, the greatest football player – he ever coached at Penn State,” Huard continued. “That compliment was laid on Bobby Engram and he had such a feel, strong legs, great awareness. And then Doug had that short-area quickness and body control. Like, we watched him in training camp how many times where you’re like, ‘How’s he do that? It’s like a cat.’ You know, he jumps up there and contorts his body and he gets both feet down. This guy incorporates both of it.”

That being said, Huard said there’s one big question mark about Smith-Njigba, who missed all but three games of the 2022 season with Ohio State due to a hamstring injury.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day: What Smith-Njigba has that’s ‘off the charts’

“The key for him – those two guys (Engram and Baldwin) were able to stay healthy. For the majority of their career, they were able to stay available,” Huard said. “Did they get nicked up? Sure. Is (Smith-Njigba) gonna get nicked up in the slot? Yes. My biggest concern for him is going to be that hamstring. I watched (former Seahawks cornerback) Shawn Springs have that and he battled it his entire career. When you have a significant hamstring like that, it is one they’re going to be careful and guarded with. But from a skillset, he really is a blend of Bobby and Doug, and then maybe even a little bit more size than both of them.”

Listen to Huard’s full thoughts on Smith-Njigba plus more of his football insight in Blue 88, which is the last segment in the podcast below from the 7 a.m. hour of Monday’s Brock and Salk. Blue 88 airs live at 7:45 a.m. each weekday during Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

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Huard: Jaxon Smith-Njigba a combo of 2 Seahawks WR legends