Change your heart or die: Evaluating Seahawks 2023 draft class
By Matthew Holm
Seahawks 1st round, pick 20: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State
On its face, this pick may have baffled its share of people. The Seahawks already have an incredible duo of receivers in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Pete Carroll is an old-school coach who clings to old adages like "control the clock" and "establish the run." And the Seahawks' best package for picking up yards through the air last year was likely out of 12 personnel, where the slot receiver leaves the field in favor of a second tight end.
Forget all of it.
JSN is as prototypical a Seahawks receiver as has ever existed. A fluid route runner of average size for his position. Comes from a well-established FBS school. Hands to rival any other prospect in his class. Projects to be an incredible slot receiver. Overblown questions about top-end speed. It sounds just like Tyler Lockett. Or Doug Baldwin. Or Darrell Jackson. Or Bobby Engram. Or Joey Galloway. Or Brian Blades. Or Steve Largent.
What more needs to be said? Perhaps it also bears repeating that Shane Waldron was plucked from the Rams' coaching staff, and the Rams' offense always runs better with a receiver with JSN's profile, be that Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, or Brandin Cooks.
It could also be that the Seahawks may need to deal away Noah Fant at some point this offseason for cap purposes — Seattle currently has less than $5 million in effective cap space per Over the Cap and has two first-round picks still to sign, not to mention a litany of other rookies.
Put it all together, and JSN was not only the best player still on the board for the Seahawks, he was also very much at a position of need. Absolute ace of a pick.