Devon Witherspoon, DB & Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR
For all of the applause about last year’s draft for John Schneider, he came back in 2023 with a one-two punch in the first round that had everyone buzzing about the future of the Seahawks.
Maybe it’s too soon to put players without any official professional experience on a list of future building blocks, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone—scout, analyst, or fan—who thinks the Seahawks are going to strike out with either of their first-round picks this year in Devon Witherspoon or Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
First, at No. 5 overall, the Seahawks grabbed the top corner in the class with Illinois’ Witherspoon, a lockdown corner who is the prototype for playing press corner. While he might lack some elite traits on paper (he’s only 5’11”, for instance), it’s all nitpicking really to find something wrong with Witherspoon—or even a reason to doubt.
Witherspoon is disruptive as hell, comes pro-ready after loads of experience in the Big Ten, and comes up big in important games. The idea of Woolen and Witherspoon in the secondary for years to come should give opposing offensive coordinators nightmares.
As for Smith-Njigba, somehow the best wide receiver in the draft was still sitting there for the taking at No. 20 overall when the Seahawks were back on the clock. Thus it wasn’t a surprise to see Seattle submit his name for an offense that already includes Walker in the backfield and Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf as primary pass catchers.
Smith-Njigba is going to cause fits for opposing defenses as a big slot whose route-running can shake even the best defenders. As Metcalf gets more expensive and Lockett prepares to turn 31, the presence of Smith-Njigba as a game-altering talent who can move the chains with ease should give the team plenty of firepower in the present and long-term options for roster planning.