The Seattle Seahawks are banking on former Ohio State star Jaxon Smith-Njigba to be a superstar for their franchise for years to come. That’s why they selected him in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Seattle officially signed the former Buckeye to a rookie contract on Thursday evening, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. The Seahawks signed him to a four-year deal worth $14.417 million, fully guaranteed. He also has a $7.48 million signing bonus included in the contract. Then there are guaranteed training camp bonuses included: 2024 ($450,000) and 2025 ($510,000).
Jaxon Smith-Njigba was a five-star prospect out of Rockwall high school in Texas, ranked the No. 3 wide receiver and the No. 28 overall recruit in the 2020 class, according to On3’s Industry Rankings. Smith-Njigba chose Ohio State out of high school, only recording 10 catches his freshman season, but making an absolute splash his sophomore year.
Smtih-Njigba led the Buckeyes in receptions and receiving yards in 2021 while sharing the field with first round draft picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. He ended the year with 95 catches for 1,606 yards and nine touchdown grabs, capping off the season with a record-setting performance in the Rose Bowl, where he hauled in 15 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns.
His 2022 season was riddled with injury, only appearing in three games for the Buckeyes after battling a nagging hamstring injury all season. Smtih-Njigba did perform well at the NFL Combine, boasting a 6.57 second three-cone drill and a 3.93-second 20-yard shuttle, both of which were the fastest times of any participant in the 2023 NFL Combine.
What NFL draft analysts are saying about Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Smtih-Njigba displayed his elite short area quickness and route running ability at the NFL Combine and at his Pro Day, but what are the analysts saying about him? NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein broke down JSN ahead of the draft, comparing the slot receiver that has a knack for finding space on the field to former LSU wideout and nine year NFL veteran Jarvis Landry.
“Smith-Njigba is a possession slot receiver who lacks the shake to separate underneath and the speed to run past defenses,” Zierlein said. “He’s tough in the middle of the defense and has proven he can make catches in congestion. Smith-Njigba will need to fine-tune his route running to give himself his best chance to succeed at the next level. It is impossible to ignore his monster finish to the 2021 season, and he has starting slot potential, but the speed concerns coupled with an injury-plagued 2022 season threaten to negatively impact his draft stock.”
On3’s Kaiden Smith also contributed to this article.