Drafted: ROUND: 1 - Pick Number: 20 (SEA)
Draft Profile: BioJaxon Smith-Njigba from Rockwall High School was rated a 4 star recruit by ESPN and handed a 5-star grade by 247 Sports. Following high school, Smith-Njigba opted to join Ohio State.
In 2020 as a freshman Smith-Njigba saw action in 7 games for the Buckeyes as he made 10 receptions for 49 yards for an average of 4.9 yards per reception, with one TD, and a QB rating when targeted of 107.5.
As a sophomore in 2021, he played in 13 games and put together the best single season for a wide receiver in Big Ten history as he amassed 1,606 receiving yards,9TDs, and a QB rating when targeted of 141.8. That included a historic Rose Bowl performance where he caught 15 passes for a record 347 yards.
As a junior in 2022 he had a massively disappointing year playing in just 3 games and making just 4 receptions while spending most of the year on the sideline with a hamstring injury
Honors & awards
- Had an elite 2021 season when he led Ohio State with school-record totals of 95 receptions and 1,606 receiving yards … on a team that also featured first-round NFL Draft picks Garrett Wilson (No. 10 overall to the Jets) and Chris Olave (No. 11 overall to New Orleans)
- Broke 20-year-old Big Ten receiving yards record (1,545 yards in 2001 by Lee Evan, Wisconsin) with his 1,606 receiving yards in 2021
- 95 receptions rank fifth-most in Big Ten history
- Set Rose Bowl records with 347 receiving yards and 15 receptions with three touchdowns and was named offensive most valuable player
- 2021: Rose Bowl game MVP; Third-team All-American (Associated Press)
- Named the Texas 6A State Player of the Year - No. 5-ranked player overall in the state of Texas
- Played in the Army All-American game in San Antonio
- Compiled 5,346 career receiving yards and 82 touchdowns in 44 career games at High School
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Super productive slot receiver who Led Ohio state in receptions and yardage in 2021 despite playing officially as the third receiver behind Olave and Garret Wilson
- Smooth hips with outstanding agility who is equally adept at moving laterally as vertically
- Has outstanding soft hands demonstrated by his impressive 141.8 QB rating when targetted in 2021
- Often used on deep routes, getting separation down the sideline or over the middle on crossing routes by extending his arms rather than pure speed.
- Does a nice job locating and tracking deep passes and is a legitimate vertical threat. Willing to go up and attack the ball.
- Has the strong hands any NFL wide receiver coach and quarterback would covet. Tracks the deep ball over either shoulder and brings in passes fluidly without breaking stride downfield.
- Has a knack for getting open and is a quarterback's best friend - passers just need to toss the ball in his area and he'll come down with it.
- Has enough straight-line speed and takes advantage of open seams when his quarterback is on target.
- Good effort and technique as a blocker for his size. Can beat the press with elusiveness or physical contact. Runs elite crisp routes with sharp cuts.
- Has good body strength to squirm out of tackles with the coordination to maneuver his frame between defenders.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Has dominated at the college level but doesn't have any elite traits that translate to the pro game - athletically he's good not great
- Doesn't have any serious explosion to his game and may find it difficult to separate at the NFL level
- Has missed a major chunk of his junior year with a hamstring injury - will have to demonstrate this is the exception rather than the rule for him
- Has had a few more drops than you would hope for in a top wideout - mostly due to occasional lapses of concentration rather than anything more intrinsic
- Spent most of his college career playing in the slot - so it remains to be seen how he will stand up as an outside threat
Scouting Report: SummarySmith-Njigba began the 2022 campaign as one of the top receivers in college football – if not the top receiver – and a candidate for national honors After an outstanding season when he led Ohio State with school-record totals of 95 receptions and 1,606 receiving yards on a team that also featured first-round NFL Draft picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave.
However, his stock suffered a big fall in 2022 after he was sidelined with an injury. Despite this Smith-Njigba has some of the best natural playing skills of any receiver in this year's draft class, he runs great routes, is explosive enough, and has nice hands along with the ability to fight for the ball with a natural affinity to find gaps in the coverage.
A year on the sidelines has also led scouts to question his athletic talents, where his lack of explosiveness and only average speed may put a limit on his pro upside. In addition, he risks being viewed as a slot-only player further reducing his draft demand.
Smith-Njigba is a very solid NFL prospect who assuming can stay healthy can carve out a quality NFL career. Expect him to be selected late on day one in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba percentiles vs other Wide Receiver's (NFL Combine historically - higher value represents better perfomance)
Update - 04/21/2023Smith-Njigba didn't run a forty at the combine he did however blow up both the three-cone and shuttle drills. He ran a 3.93 (98th percentile) shuttle which was the fourth fastest in the history of the combine and added a 6.57-second (97th percentile) 3-cone drill which was the 13th all-time.
This is huge as one of the big question marks for him was his none elite athletic ability and explosiveness. If he runs a similarly outstanding forty as his pro-day look for him to be the first WR taken.
How other scouting services rate Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Overall Rank)
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