Huard: Seahawks’ Smith-Njigba a ‘blend’ of 2 legendary WRs

Jul 31, 2023, 9:58 AM | Updated: 10:08 am

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba...

Jaxon Smith-Njigba with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being drafted by the Seahawks. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)

Player comparisons are a natural part of sports, and that’s especially true for younger players. Former NFL quarterback Brock Huard has quite the comparison for one of the Seattle Seahawks’ rookies.

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With star Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf not wanting to do a player comp for Smith-Njigba – “I really don’t like comparing and contrasting people because I think Jaxon is his own person and he’s gonna make his own lane to be his own great receiver,” Metcalf told Brock and Salk last week – that got Huard thinking about who Smith-Njigba reminds him of, and he turned to two of his former NFL teammates.

“He is actually a blend of the two guys I played with in Indianapolis. If you blended Reggie Wayne’s body type with Marvin Harrison’s movement skills and probably Reggie’s speed – Reggie was not a blazer and Jaxon in a 40-yard dash is not going to be a blazer. But his body control and his short-area quickness is off the charts. I think if you blended those two guys together, you might come out with a Jaxon Smith-Njigba,” Huard said.

Well that’s not a bad place to start, is it?

Harrison finished his 13-year NFL career with 14,580 receiving yards (ninth all-time) and 128 receiving touchdowns (fifth all-time). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame 2016, and Smith-Njigba played alongside his son Marvin Harrison Jr. at Ohio State.

As for Wayne, his 14-year career was also a great one, as his 14,345 receiving yards are 10th all-time and his 82 touchdown receptions are 28th all-time.

One play that Smith-Njigba made in 2020 for the Buckeyes reminds Huard a lot of Harrison.

First, here’s a story from Huard about something Harrison did during a practice.

“I will never forget my first minicamp with Indianapolis … I threw a comeback (route) on that first practice, and I’m like ‘crap’ when it leaves my hand. … You know, ‘Crap, that’s not in play. That’s out of bounds.’ It leaves my hand and I’m like, ‘Uh oh, that’s way overthrown,’ especially to Marvin, who’s not the biggest guy,” Huard said. “And then he goes up and just snags it and makes it look good and gets his feet down and I’m like, ‘What was that? That was amazing. That was like Gumby plus Michael Jordan.’ His body movement and athleticism and flexibility were off the charts.”

That kind of movement is “what this kid has,” Huard said of Smith-Njigba.

The aforementioned play Smith-Njigba made was in his first college game in 2020 against Nebraska, where he somehow made a leaping catch in the back of the end zone and just barely stayed in bounds.

“We saw it at Ohio State, the first game he ever played. You and I were watching it,” Huard recalled to his co-host, Mike Salk. “… I think you texted me like … ‘Did you just see that?’ I’m like, ‘I did. I’ve never seen that.’ He was totally going out of bounds. His whole body was going to the Ohio State band. The best band in the land was ready to catch him. And then somehow, some way, how did he put a foot down? How did Spidey-Sense do that?”

Comparing Smith-Njigba to one Hall of Famer and another receiver who may wind up in Canton some day is “a lot of hype,” Huard said, but that’s what he sees out of the young receiver.

“Just body movement, feet, short-area quickness, balance,” Huard said.

Listen to the full second hour of Friday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player earlier in this story.

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