My Favorite Players in the 2023 NFL Draft: WR Jaxson Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

| April 5th, 2023

Normally I save my “favorite players” for a single column draft week. But over the next month I’m going to roll them out slowly.

There are good receivers in this draft, even if those receivers don’t profile as starts. JSN is a star.

From Lance Zierlein at NFL.com:


Smith-Njigba is a possession slot receiver who lacks the shake to separate underneath and the speed to run past defenses. 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.


  • Averaged 192 receiving yards per game in last five contests of 2021 season.
  • Plays tough in the teeth of the defense as a zone-beater.
  • Elevates his catch focus when contested.
  • Leverages his intermediate break points.
  • Softens and extends his hands to meet the throw.
  • Tracks deep throws with poise and accuracy.
  • Athletic and smooth catching on the move.
  • Plays to his top speed throughout the route.


  • Vast majority of his production came in one season.
  • Rolls into his breaks with top-heavy momentum.
  • Lacks suddenness for separation in and out of breaks.
  • Below average top-end speed to win vertically.
  • Likely to be viewed as a slot-only option.
  • Lacks burst to elude after the catch.

Are the Bears Interested?