Why Did the Seahawks Draft Jaxon Smith-Njigba?

    The Seattle Seahawks drafted Jaxon-Smith Njigba in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. What went into the decision?

    The Seattle Seahawks already had a strong wide receiving corps in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf as they entered the 2023 season but decided to select Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first round of the draft to add even more talent to the position.

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    Geno Smith Saw Potential in Jaxon Smith-Njigba

    Supposedly, Geno Smith was the driving force behind bringing Smith-Njigba to Seattle.

    Smith said he watched his highlights and knew he was special. The Seahawks now have one of the most impressive wide receiver trios in the league.

    “I was actually training with one of my boys, and I was watching his highlights. And I texted Pete [Carroll], ‘Man, we gotta draft this guy,'” Smith said. “Just having him as part of that wide receiver group with DK and Tyler and being part of that offense, you can tell how special he is as a player. He’s really gonna bring that added dimension to our offense. I’m just happy that we got him.”

    In 2021, Smith-Njigba led Ohio State with school-record totals of 95 receptions and 1,606 receiving yards, breaking the Big Ten receiving yards record. He also set Rose Bowl records with 347 receiving yards, 15 receptions, and three touchdowns.

    MORE: Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart

    Due to a hamstring injury, he only played three games last season but was still arguably the top receiver heading into the draft and the first wide receiver taken.

    So far this season, Smith-Njigba has nine receptions for 57 yards and no scores. Despite the slow start, Smith continues to stay optimistic about the rookie receiver, saying he is in a “great spot.”

    “I think Jaxon is in a great spot,” Smith said. “If you look at when Ken [Walker III] took off last year, it was like Week 5 or something like that. You think about our offense and the new guys that we’re incorporating into the offense; it’s going to take some time. This is our third game, fourth game, playing together. We’re still figuring each other out, and it’s going to take some time.”

    Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron spoke about Smith-Njigba’s production so far on Friday, saying he is doing a great job controlling the things he can control.

    “I think for him it’s about working hard, it’s about progressing every single day and knowing that sometimes at the receiver position, the ball doesn’t go your way based on things that are totally out of your control,” Waldron said.

    While Smith-Njigba’s stat line has been underwhelming so far, as fans have lofty expectations, he is competing for targets with Metcalf and Lockett while still developing his connection with Smith.

    It is too early to show concern over his performance. As Smith said, his breakout game could be just around the corner.

    Smith-Njigba and the Seahawks face off against the New York Giants on Monday night.

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