ICYMI, Jaxon Smith-Njigba completely balled out at the NFL Combine. There has been a lot of chatter leading up to the NFL Draft debating whether or not he would look like the JSN we saw in 2021. I think the majority of those questions were answered with a resounding YES.
So, a quick recap in case you forgot just how much of a beast he was two seasons ago. He racked up 1,606 receiving yards on 96 receptions and had nine touchdowns. These stats were the best on the team, in a receiver room that included Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson (as well as Jameson Williams and Marvin Harrison Jr.). JSN did all of that as a sophomore, his first year as a starter. Man, I miss watching him play.
Wow, was it nice to see him fully healthy and tearing it up at the NFL Combine. NFL scouts and GMs clearly want to see if the hamstring is totally healed, and the best way to show that would be the 40-yard dash. JSN didn’t participate in that drill, but fear not, because he said he would at Ohio State’s pro day.
While he didn’t complete that drill, he did just about everything else possible to wow those who want to draft him. His time of 6.57 seconds on the 3-cone drill and 3.93 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle were both the best at the combine, and he looked like Speedy Gonzales. Once again, he moved really fluidly and loose, not showing any lingering injury from the hamstring.
6.57 on the 3 cone is ELITE.@jaxon_smith1 | @OhioStateFB— NFL (@NFL) March 5, 2023
: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork
: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/97E1dbA3cR
His on-field workouts also looked smooth, as he caught literally every single pass during the route-running drills. He even got to connect with C.J. Stroud one time through the rotation, so that just warmed my heart right there.
Of course, it was a perfect pass and catch as both of them made the other look good.
.@CJ7STROUD to @jaxon_smith1— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2023
We've seen that a few times before. @OhioStateFB
: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork
: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/uKXMU0tGrB
C.J. Stroud & Jaxon Smith Njigba hyping each other up is the energy we need— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) March 5, 2023
: #NFLCombine on NFL Network
: Stream on NFL+ pic.twitter.com/wLUQ979JeW
Overall, it was about as perfect a return to public football for JSN as it could’ve been. Between showing off his speed, route-running abilities, not dropping a single pass and proving that he’s back to 100% health, what more could you ask for? Besides the 40-yard dash — which we will see soon enough — it was a stellar day for No. 11.
Prior to the combine, JSN wasn’t touted as the top WR, or even in the top three in the 2023 draft. The fact that he missed a whole year and the question of whether he was fully healthy left a lot of question marks surrounding his name. TCU’s Quentin Johnston and USC’s Jordan Addison have been making the headlines as the top prospects at this position over the past few months.
When you look at the stats, however, JSN’s 2021 season just blows both of these receiver’s 2022 seasons out of the water. Johnston had 1,069 yards on 60 receptions, and Addison had 875 yards on 59 receptions. Reminder that JSN had 1,606 yards.
So, will they get drafted ahead of him? It’s possible. But after the combine and Ohio State’s pro day, there truly should be no reason why JSN isn’t the first receiver taken in the draft.
Do you think JSN will be the first receiver taken in the draft?
This poll is closed
No, but he should be