Jaxson Smith-Njiba Scouting Report
Jaxon Smith-Njigba NFL Draft Profile
Weight- 198 lbs.
Jaxson Smith-Njigba 40 time: 4.5 (estimate)
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a junior wide receiver at The Ohio State University. Since the start of the 2021 season, he has taken the college football scene by storm. During the 2021 season, he was one of the most productive receivers in the nation. He racked up 1,606 yards and 9 touchdowns on 95 receptions. This includes a record-setting Rose Bowl performance, where he racked up 347 yards and 3 touchdowns. Last season, Smith-Njigba was very entertaining to watch because of the electrifying plays he was making while on the field. Although it will be difficult to improve on, I think he can do it with Wilson and Olave gone.
Now, let’s talk about his game before he put on a helmet at The Ohio State University. Jaxon Smith Njigba attended Rockwall High School in Rockwall, Texas. According to MaxPreps, he played all four seasons in high school on varsity. In his freshman season, he only had 8 receptions for 105 yards but, this was by far his worst season. The next three seasons, he racked up a combined, 5,279 yards and 63 touchdowns. To go into more detail, his senior season, he had 2,132 yards and 34 touchdowns. This kind of production led him to being the number 2 wide receiver in the nation behind teammate Julian Fleming.
Last season, Ohio State’s roster was stacked with talented receivers who were elite in many aspects of their game. The one attribute that they all possessed was route running and the ability to create space off the snap. When watching his film, I was impressed with the many ways that he can create space during his route. Right off the snap, he does a good job of using his shiftiness to force the defender off balance. He also does a good job of doing a double move or head faking to fake out the defender. Then, he can stem his route by using his elite speed and quick feet to gain immediate separation. Then finally, if necessary then he can make a break in the route towards where he needs to be. Overall, I love his creativity when he is route running and am curious to see how he does this season.
Although Smith-Njigba’s route running is very good, his athleticism is what makes him an elite talent. When watching his film, I was blown away with the athleticism that he possesses. He has elite acceleration, speed, and elusiveness. This allows him to be impactful regardless of the play or route he needs to run. Then, once he gets the ball in his hands, it is game on from there. He does a very good job of making defenders miss by either making them miss or simply outrunning them.
Last season, Smith-Njigba played a total of 686 snaps and most of them were from the slot. Now that Wilson and Olave are gone, there are many questions around whether he will shift to the outside. I think he will be an elite playmaker regardless of the position he is in and who is around him. He put this on display in the Rose Bowl against Utah where Wilson and Olave were out. In this game alone, he played 68 snaps with 46 from the slot and 17 outside. These were the most amount of snaps that he had all season lined up on the outside. I could only imagine how good he would be if he was there full time.
When watching his film, it’s easy to overlook some of the weaknesses that he possesses because he is so talented. But one red flag that I kept noticing is the fact that many of his catches were caught against his body. I am not saying he needs to use his body to make catches. We have seen in many instances that is not the case. The biggest concern for me is that he needs to improve on making catches with just his hands in stride. This will often allow him to keep his momentum going in the right direction to help gain separation. So, hopefully during this season I can see him making improvements in this field. If this is the case, I think he could be a top 10 pick in the draft.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba is 6’0” tall and weighs around 198 lbs. On paper this does not sound like he would have a thin frame. But, when you watch his film, he looks tiny compared to other receivers on the field. Like what I said in my Garrett Wilson report last year, he can afford to put on a few extra pounds. This would help him if he will be lined up on the outside in the NFL. There are several corners who are around 6’2” and 210 lbs who would lockdown Smith-Njigba primarily due to his frame. But, if he plays a majority of his snaps in the slot, then I think he would be fine.
Jaxson Smith-Njigba Draft Stock
As of right now, there are many question marks around where exactly Smith-Njigba will go in the draft. After watching countless hours of his film, I can confidently tell you he is the best receiver in this draft. If he has a similar season this year, I think he will be a consensus top 10 pick.
Final Thoughts on Jaxson Smith-Njigba Scouting Report
Overall, I think that Smith-Njigba is one of the best athletes in all of college football. He has elite athleticism that allows him to be productive regardless of the play call. But, I think that he would be best fit as a complimentary slot receiver for any offense in the NFL. This would allow him to maintain his frame while being just as productive as some of the top receivers in the league. Overall, I am excited to see what he can do this season and hopefully he can show the world that he is a special talent.
Jaxson Smith Njigba NFL Comparison
A player that I would compare this play style to would be Hunter Renfrow.