First-round prospect for the Pack: Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

The Green Bay Packers hold the No. 15 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft and may eventually take control of the 13th overall pick if the New York Jets agree to deal the first-round pick in a trade for Aaron Rodgers.

Who could be legitimate targets for general manager Brian Gutekunst?

Between now and the draft, Packers Wire will periodically break down one potential first-round prospect capable of landing in Green Bay come Thursday, April 27.

Scroll to continue with content

Up first in the series is Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba:

Size, athleticism

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Height: 6-1
Weight: 196
Hand: 9″
Arm: 30 1/2″

40-yard dash: 4.52
Vertical jump: 35″
Broad jump: 10-5
Three-cone: 6.57
Short shuttle: 3.93
Bench press: N/A

Relative Athletic Score: 9.21

What he can do, what to know

Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11)

– Win from the slot. He’s arguably the quickest receiver in the class, and he catches everything.

– Route-running extraordinaire. Will create easy throws and won’t have issues getting open at the next level.


– Incredible body control allows him to make acrobatic catches all over the field.

– Can he play out wide? Vast majority of snaps at Ohio State came in the slot.

– Not a speedster but is plenty fast. Isn’t a big receiver but is plenty tough enough to make catches in traffic.

– Averaged over 4.0 yards per route run in 2021, per PFF. Elite number during a dominant season.

– Caught 15 passes for 347 yards and three touchdowns during Rose Bowl win over Utah.

– Played in only three games in 2022 due to hamstring injury.

– Still only 21 years old.

How he fits

Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State, The Columbus Dispatch


The perfect complementary weapon to Christian Watson. Whereas Watson brings elite speed and field-stretching ability, Smith-Njigba dominates in the short to intermediate areas of the field and eats up zone defenses in the middle of the field. Imagine teams playing deep safeties to keep the lid on Watson and Smith-Njigba getting one-on-one opportunities in space to cook slot corners. It’s a dream scenario for a playcaller (Matt LaFleur) and a quarterback (Jordan Love). Smith-Njigba’s quickness and route-running chops make him the ideal receiver to run the quick-hitting routes designed within LaFleur’s scheme, and Love – even in brief appearances as a pro – has shown a willingness to attack the middle of the field. It’s hard to imagine a player who could help Love more in Year 1 as a starter; Smith-Njigba is going to get open a lot and give the quarterback on-time throws. His ceiling production-wise in the NFL? An annual threat to catch 100 or more passes.

NFL comp: CeeDee Lamb

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


Lamb played more on the perimeter at Oklahoma, but his body type and playstyle are such a good match for Smith-Njigba. Neither wins with pure speed, but both create consistent separation, catch everything in sight and win after the catch. Lamb was the No. 17 pick in the 2020 draft. Landing somewhere in the teens looks like a real possibility for Smith-Njigba in April. Others see Lions slot dynamo Amon-Ra St. Brown or former Patriots great Julian Edelman in Smith-Njiba’s game.


The Rupp Report: Unpacking Future Packers

Story originally appeared on Packers Wire