What improvements Bump wants to see from Seahawks’ JSN

May 8, 2024, 5:38 PM | Updated: 10:08 pm

Seattle Seahawks JSN Cleveland 2023 Getty 900...

Jaxon Smith-Njigba of the Seattle Seahawks scores the game-winning TD against Cleveland in 2023. (Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

(Jane Gershovich/Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is coming off a solid rookie campaign.

What Bump hopes OC Grubb brings to Seahawks’ WRs from UW

As the No. 20 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, Smith-Njigba carried high expectations into his first season. He got off to a slow start through his first four games, but turned a corner after that and grew into his role as Seattle’s No. 3 receiver behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. He finished his rookie year with 63 catches for 628 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair of game-winning TDs in the final minute against the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.

As Smith-Njigba heads into Year 2 of his NFL career, what areas can he improve on? Former Seahawks receiver Michael Bumpus shared his thoughts Wednesday on Seattle Sports’ Bump and Stacy.

“Just continue to get creative with your route-running,” Bumpus said. “When you get guys from college football and they’re just so dominant and so much better than everybody, they don’t have to do much to get open. … So I want to see him be more creative with his body language and his violence at the top of his route, and I want to see him mess with his tempo. He’s such a smooth type of receiver. Everything he does is smooth. (I want to see him) slow it down, speed it up, (and mix up) your release.”

Bumpus said blocking is the other area of growth he’d like to see from the 6-foot, 197-pound Smith-Njigba.

“As a receiver, you don’t have to be a dominant blocker,” Bumpus said. “I remember one time in preseason toward the end of my career, I line up in the slot and I gotta go get the linebacker, and looking at me out the corner of his eye is (Hall of Famer) Brian Urlacher. I go, ‘Really? You want me to block Brian Urlacher, one of the greatest linebackers of all time?’ No, just get in his way for long enough so the running back can run by you. That’s all you’ve got to do, especially when you’re a smaller receiver like myself and JSN.”

Smith-Njigba and the Seahawks have a new offensive coordinator in Ryan Grubb, who oversaw the UW Huskies’ high-octane passing attack while serving in the same role for the Dawgs the past two seasons. Bumpus thinks Smith-Njigba can continue to grow in Grubb’s scheme.

“This dude is a good receiver. Don’t get it twisted,” Bumpus said. “But there’s always things that you can improve on. … And he will, because the more comfortable he gets, the more leeway Ryan Grubb and this offense is going to give him. I’m excited to see how he improves.”

Listen to the full conversation from Wednesday’s Bump and Stacy in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post. Bump and Stacy airs live from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays on Seattle Sports.

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