Seahawks WR room breakdown: How much of an impact JSN can have

2023 NFL Draft - Round 1
2023 NFL Draft - Round 1 / David Eulitt/GettyImages

Whether it be the size and athleticism of DK Metcalf, the body control and deep-threat ability of Tyler Lockett, or the route-running and hands of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Seattle Seahawks receiving room seems to have every trait at their disposal. The upside for the trio is through the roof, but with the upside comes questions that must be answered to reach that ceiling. The biggest ones are how will JSN be used? And how big of an impact will he have in year one?

The Seahawks receiving core is unique because there is no clear wide receiver one. Fans will often debate between Lockett and Metcalf, but the reality is that they're two completely different receivers that complement each other's game more than one sticking out more than the other. Metcalf is your prototypical big-bodied primarily outside receiver, more likely to be matched against the team's number one corners.

He'd burst onto the scene as a rookie, putting up 58 receptions, 900 yards, and 7 touchdowns, immediately showing his ability to get the job done at the next level. He'd follow that up with his best season to date, in 2020, posting 83 receptions, 1,303 yards, and 10 touchdowns.

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Metcalf does have limitations in his game, however. His route tree can be limited at times, whether it's due to scheme or his play style. He also wins more with physicality and good ball skills rather than consistent route running and the ability to get open. Not to say he doesn't have that trait but it's often not what he's asked to do.

Seattle hands those route-running responsibilities to nine-year veteran Tyler Lockett. But what makes Lockett a unique player is that although he has the ability to get open consistently, he's still one of the best deep threats in the league. Usually, when you think of the league's best deep threats, you think of guys like Metcalf, Mike Evans, and Mike Williams.

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Players who are tall (6'3 or taller) and physically at the catch point. But Lockett, who only stands at 5'10", doesn't have the same build or traits. Lockett wins deep with elite body control and ball-tracking ability. He's always in the right spot and can contort his body however he needs to make the catch. It's a truly rare combination of build and ability, therefore making him one of the most unique players at the position.

Aside from Metcalf and Lockett, in years previous Seattle hadn't been able to find another complimentary receiver. Passing on more significant needs, they tried to find their 3rd receiver with former 2nd-round draft pick D'Wayne Eskridge in 2021, who was an explosive player coming out of Western Michigan. Running a 4.4 40-yard dash and a 1.51 10-yard split, speed was one of Eskridge's biggest strengths, paired with his YAC ability.

Unfortunately, Eskridge hasn't really worked out at the next level. Missing 15 out of a possible 34 games in the NFL, he hasn't been able to stay healthy and when he has, he hasn't made a big enough impact to be an effective 3rd receiver.

Luckily for Seattle, receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba would fall to them at number 20 in the 2022 NFL draft. Considered by many to be the best receiver in the draft, Njigba is the latest in Ohio State's fantastic run of producing excellent NFL receivers. With receivers like Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Curtis Samuel, Terry Mclaurin, and Cris Carter all becoming high-end starters in the NFL. With Wilson and Olave even nicknamed him "the natural."

The nickname fits Njigba to a tee. His smooth route running and next-level change of direction makes him the chain-mover that Seattle's always wanted. The only negative for Njigba would be his lack of experience playing outside, which in Seattle's case fits perfectly.

However, Njigba's injury history may prove to be an issue as well as he was forced to miss almost all of the 2022 season due to a hamstring injury suffered against Notre Dame early in the year. With special short to intermediate route running, change of direction, and YAC ability, Njigba is the ideal fit next to Lockett and Metcalf.

Njigba will likely be productive right away as well. He's already got next-level traits as a primary slot receiver. His ability to find soft spots in zone coverage will likely provide Geno Smith with a go-to safety blanket. He flashed these traits in his most dominant performance at Ohio State, where he would go off against Utah in the 2021 Rose Bowl, recording a historic, 15 catches, 347 yards, and 3 TDs.

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Between these three stars, plenty of arguments can be made for the Seahawks having the best-receiving core in the league. There's not a single trait that they don't possess. You want speed? Go to Metcalf or Eskridge. You want to throw the ball deep? Go to Metcalf or Lockett. Do you want a killer in the short to intermediate game that can get you some yards after the catch? Go to Njigba. These options at receiver, combined with the come-up of Geno Smith and the emergence of Ken Walker last season, will immediately make Seattle one of the most must-watch offenses in the NFL.