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What would breakout year from Seahawks’ JSN look like?

Jun 10, 2024, 1:41 PM

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba 49ers 2023...

Jaxon Smith-Njigba of the Seattle Seahawks runs with the ball against the 49ers in 2023. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a popular pick to have a breakout season this fall.

Bump: How Seahawks can get the best out of DK Metcalf

As the No. 3 receiver last year behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, Smith-Njigba overcame a slow start to finish with 63 catches for 628 yards and four touchdowns in his rookie campaign. He came through in some big moments, catching a pair of game-winning TDs in the final minute against the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles. But with a season high of just 63 receiving yards, he never quite had that signature breakthrough performance.

With a full season of NFL experience under his belt and a new offensive coordinator in Ryan Grubb, there’s hope that Smith-Njigba can take the next step this fall and fully showcase the talent the made him the No. 20 overall pick in last year’s draft. The early returns this offseason have been encouraging, as the former Ohio State star stood out during recent OTA practices that were open to the media.

If Smith-Njigba does indeed have a breakout campaign this year, what exactly would that look like? Former Seahawks receiver Michael Bumpus shared his thoughts on a Blue 88 segment of Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk last week.

“I think a breakout year would mean he’s reaching around 800 yards and he’s a threat anywhere on the football field,” Bumpus said. “Let’s not forget, he had a couple big catches last year that won the football game for this team, so you know he’s capable of stepping up in those big moments. So a breakout year would be him really sliding in and solidifying himself as that No. 2 receiver.”

Bumpus then explained what a breakout season would look like from an X’s and O’s standpoint.

“Getting more targets and having plays that are specifically designed for JSN,” Bumpus said. “When you see those screens, when you see those rollouts and he’s on the back side, when you have that deep cross going on – all the things that we see Tyler Lockett do at times and we’ve seen DK Metcalf do a ton.

“When you isolate him on the back side of a formation and it’s one-on-one and Geno is looking to his side and only his side, that’s how you know that he’s gained the trust and this play was designed for him. So just a lot more isolation plays and a lot more plays specifically designed to get him the football. … When you watch the game and you see plays that are designed directly for JSN, that’s when you know that he’s taken the next step.”

Listen to the full Blue 88 segment with former NFL wide receiver Michael Bumpus at this link or in the audio player near the middle of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m. or find the podcast on the Seattle Sports app.

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