Jaxon Smith-Njigba selected in first round of 2023 NFL Draft
Jaxon Smith-Njigba was sidelined for much of the 2022 season at Ohio State, but that did not wind up having a major impact on his stock for the NFL Draft.
With the No. 20 overall pick, the Seattle Seahawks selected Smith-Njigba in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He joins former teammates Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson as Buckeye receivers to become first-round picks in the past two NFL Drafts.
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Coming out of a record-breaking 2021 season, expectations were high for Smith-Njigba playing alongside CJ Stroud once again in 2022. Unfortunately, an injury in the season opener against Notre Dame would limit Smith-Njigba to 5 catches for 43 yards in just 3 games played.
The good news for Smith-Njigba is he put enough of his game on tape during the 2021 season when he set Ohio State’s single-season records in catches (95) and receiving yards (1,606).
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In the process, Smith-Njigba set the highest grade for an OSU WR during the PFF era.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba: 91.7 PFF Grade in 2021
Highest graded season by an OSU WR in the PFF era🔥 pic.twitter.com/UlxfZmzAKA
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 19, 2023
One concern for Smith-Njigba in the draft process remained his overall health, particularly after his lower-body injury last season and opting not to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He did ease those concerns with solid numbers in other testing categories and eventually posted a 4.48-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day.
Smith-Njigba will best be remembered for his Rose Bowl performance when he posted 15 catches for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns in a thrilling win over Utah.
Unreal catch. Unreal Rose Bowl. 🤯
— Saturday Tradition (@Tradition) January 2, 2022