After being snagged by the Seattle Seahawks in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba is ready to make an impact at the professional level.
The rookie has already turned some heads at training camp, and it seems like he has caught the attention of his teammates. Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf and quarterback Geno Smith had nothing but good things to say when recently speaking about the youngster.
“He looks like he’s already been here for two, three years with the way he runs his routes and the way he’s picked up the offense,” Metcalf said to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. “Every day at practice, how he tracks balls and how he runs his routes, everything. I think he’s going to be an exceptional player.”
Graziano added more.
“Quarterback Geno Smith told me that Smith-Njigba has been ‘everything that they said he’d be,’ calling him ‘a natural receiver,'” Graziano wrote. “Smith said the best things about the rookie are his humility and work ethic. The first day I was at practice, Smith-Njigba made a brilliant toe-tapping touchdown catch in the back of the end zone, among other highlights.”
If Smith-Njigba’s NFL career is anything like his college career — specifically his 2021 season at Ohio State University — the Seahawks are in for a treat.
Across 13 games with the Buckeyes in the 2021 season, he had 95 receptions for a whopping 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns. He helped his squad reach the Rose Bowl, which it won over the University of Utah. He had 347 receiving yards and three touchdowns in that game en route to offensive MVP honors.
The NFL is certainly a different animal compared to college, but Smith-Njigba was regarded as one of the best receivers available in this year’s draft, and he’ll look to prove that his game translates well even at the highest level.
The Seahawks were a nice story last season, making the playoffs with Smith at quarterback. Now, they’ll look to prove that it wasn’t a fluke.
Metcalf, Smith-Njigba and Tyler Lockett certainly have the potential to become a scary trio on offense, giving Smith a handful of quality weapons to work with. If the dominoes fall their way, the Seahawks may be able to make some noise in the NFC West.
The journey for Smith-Njigba and the Seahawks will begin in a little over a month when they open their season against the Los Angeles Rams. The rookie wide receiver may continue to steal the show as training camp continues, but he likely knows as well as anyone that the real tests begin in September.