Jaxon Smith-Njigba Rookie Profile King Fantasy Sports

Jaxon Smith-Njigba - WR - Ohio State University

Jaxon Smith-Njigba started his career off quietly behind future NFL wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. Then he worked his way into the rotation as a sophomore where he lit the league on fire with a historic season. There were high expectations coming into the 2022 season with many predicting him to be the first wide receiver off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft. But, he missed a lot of the 2022 season with an injury as other wide receivers impressed or failed to do so, leaving doubt on who will be the first wide receiver taken off the board in April.


Height: 6′ 1″

Weight: 196 lbs

Age: 21

40-yard dash: 4.48s {unofficial} 

3-cone drill: DNP

20-yard shuttle: 3.93

Vertical Jump: 35″

Broad Jump: 10-5

Bench Press: DNP

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Receiving & Rushing Table
*2020Ohio StateBig TenFRWR710494.9100010494.91
*2021Ohio StateBig TenSOWR1395160616.9900095160616.99
*2022Ohio StateBig TenJRWR35438.600005438.60
CareerOhio State110169815.410000110169815.410
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 2/28/2023.

Notable Headlines

Smith-Njigba was a top-end, 5-star recruit when he committed to the Ohio State University according to 247Sports Composite rankings. He had a quiet freshman season, only appearing in 7 games and failing to go over 50 yards receiving. But that changed quickly going into his sophomore season as he solidified his role in the offense alongside current NFL receivers Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. He outpaced the two (in two additional games) by ~600 yards, in large part due to his huge explosion against Utah in their bowl game where he eclipsed 300 yards and 3 touchdowns on 15 receptions. He was awarded 2022 Rose Bowl MVP for his performance, Third-team All-American, and Third-team All-Big Ten.

During his historic 2021 season, he played a majority of his snaps in the slot while Olave and Wilson played the perimeter. There was hope that he would display the same success he did in the slot also on the outside this season with less competition from established receivers in the room. But he struggled to stay healthy due to a hamstring injury all season and only appeared in 3 games where he failed to accrue over 50 receiving yards on the year. There’s no doubting his success and talent based on his 2021 season, but he could have solidified himself as the undisputed WR1 in this draft class with a successful 2022 season. Despite this, he decided to declare for the draft where there is still little doubt about him being a first-round selection this Spring.

Scouting Report


Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a well-rounded wide receiver with a truly historic season under his belt. He has reliable hands and was effective at all levels of the field. He’s a natural separator that shows exciting release at the stems of his routes. Additionally, he shows an ability to display sudden start/stop movements to create plenty of separation between himself and the defender. Smith-Njigba was incredibly effective against zone, just finding soft spots and reading the defense as he ran his route, helping provide his quarterback with wide-open targets. He’s also a very effective blocker that is more than willing and capable of blocking for his teammates in space.

Where he makes his bread is from his dynamic yards after the catch ability. He isn’t the fastest wide receiver in the class, but he shows nice acceleration and instincts to create big plays in the open field. After the catch, he follows blockers, easily identifies running lanes, and can even take jet sweeps or carries out of the backfield effectively. He possesses both elusiveness and physicality in the open field with the ability to make defenders miss or run right through arm tackles. Throughout the 2021 season, Smith-Njigba showed real strides throughout the year in his development as a wide receiver, continually improving each game.


Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a well-rounded receiver, but there are some small things that he could improve upon. There were some tougher catches on his tape that would have gone a long way and added some more highlight reel catches to his resume if he came down with said catches. While his hands are reliable, he has a tendency to catch with his body, making it easier for defensive backs to make a play on the ball at the next level. As a route runner, he tends to round his routes a little too often. 

He’s not overly athletic without the top-end speed that some other receivers in this class will boast. But that doesn’t limit him as a legitimate weapon as he creates his separation with technique and not elite physical traits. There’s also the concern of him being a one-year wonder. That’s very unlikely with both the historic rate of his 2021 season, but also the talent he put on display on his tape. But missing the 2022 season didn’t do him any favors and he didn’t get more opportunities to prove himself on the outside. As it stands now, he could be limited to a slot specialist at the next level with limited snaps on the perimeter.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Round 1

Landing Spots

Despite missing a majority of the 2022 season, there is little doubt that he won’t be drafted in the first round. There is a good chance that he won’t be the first wide receiver off the board with risers such as Jordan Addison and Quentin Johnston. While JSN’s total body of work is spotty, the highs are just too high to ignore and pass up on the opportunity for a potentially elite wide receiver option.

The Patriots make a ton of sense as a landing spot. Jakobi Meyers is a free agent and the only established wide receiver on the team. Jaxon Smith-Njigba would be a perfect fit in the slot wide receiver role for the Patriots which has produced plenty of incredibly productive receivers in the past with less college production and prestige than Smith-Njigba. Kansas City Chiefs is another team that would be a perfect fit as well if he were to potentially fall that late in the draft. The Chiefs need a receiving weapon outside of Kelce as he’s getting older and the other options are “just guys”. If Smith-Njigba does develop to his potential, Mahomes and JSN would be a threat in this league for a long time.

Post Draft Analysis

Seattle Seahawks – Round 1, Pick 20

Landing Spot

Seattle wasn’t necessarily in need of another wide receiver. And yet they are taking a look ahead, planning for the future, and rewarding Geno Smith by surrounding him with even more weapons. There is a potential out in Tyler Lockett’s contract next year where his cap hit becomes more than his dead cap, but realistically, It’s tough to see the Seahawks cutting Lockett in his age-31 season unless we see significant regression in his game. But Jaxon Smith-Njigba can be expected to slowly take over as the WR2 in that offense as Lockett declines in his age. JSN is even talented enough to create a dynamic duo with DK Metcalf, both being part of a 1a/1b combination that we are seeing be more and more successful in the league (i.e., Tee Higgins/Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith/AJ Brown, Jaylen Waddle/Tyreek Hill, etc.).

Fantasy Impact

Jaxon Smith-Njigba probably isn’t in line for the rookie breakout phenoms we’ve seen from the likes of Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson. That’s likely going to be because of the direct target competition from DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, two receivers that have been perennial 100+ target receivers. Not to mention, the Seahawks have been notorious for being a ground-and-pound offense. Maybe the JSN drafting is a sign of the times changing, but then the Seahawks went right back in the second round and drafted another great running back to pair with their 1,000-yard rusher, Kenneth Walker. This landing spot is going to test a lot of managers’ patience, but can really pay off dividends in the coming year or two.


For redraft leagues, there are very few seasons where rookie wide receivers make an immediate impact. We’ve obviously seen recent outliers with Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson and other rookies have shown to be useful for small stretches of the season like Christian Watson. But rarely are they worth taking in your draft versus keeping an eye on them on waivers. I think that’ll be the case with JSN, especially with the target competition currently present and Seattle’s run tendencies of the past. For dynasty leagues, JSN is a great pick near the end of the first tier of players right around Jahmyr Gibbs. The talent is there, the landing spot is good long term, it’ll just be a bit of a wait for him to pay dividends.

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Image Credit: Orlando Ramirez – USA TODAY Sports