Mar 4, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith‐Njigba (WO45) participates in drills at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
- The Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans are co-betting favorites to draft receiver Jaxson Smith-Njigba
- Smith-Njigba played just three games this season as he dealt with a hamstring injury
- Check out the latest odds for all teams below, plus which team is most likely to draft Smith-Njigba
In today’s pass-happy NFL, you can never have enough quality receivers.
So, even after an injury-plagued junior season, Jaxson Smith-Njigba could be the first pass-catcher off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft odds.
The current front runners to take him are the Baltimore Ravens and Houston Texans, each with +700 odds. Houston, who needs talent across multiple positions, have picks #2 and #12. The Ravens are down the board at #23.
There are a myriad ways this draft unfolds, and plenty of potential suitors for the shifty slot receiver from Ohio State.
Let’s see the odds for every team in the NFL, suggest some possible landing spots, and share our best bet.
Jaxson Smith-Njigba NFL Draft Odds
|New York Giants||+1000|
|New England Patriots||+1100|
|Green Bay Packers||+1100|
|Kansas City Chiefs||+2000|
|New York Jets||+2500|
|Las Vegas Raiders||+2500|
|New Orleans Saints||+3400|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+4000|
|San Francisco 49ers||+5000|
Odds as of Oct 9 at FanDuel.
Why Teams Should Target Smith-Njigba
The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder from Rockwell, Texas broke onto the scene at Ohio State in his sophomore season, and he was spectacular.
In his only full season, Smith-Njigba played 13 games, hauling in 95 balls for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns.
He punctuated that year with an explosive showing in the Buckeyes’ 48-45 win over the Utah Utes, with 15 catches, 347 yards and three touchdowns.
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) August 16, 2022
Smith-Njigba follows in a line of standout receivers coming out of Ohio State, including Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jameson Williams (who later transferred to Alabama) — who all went inside the top 12 of last year’s draft.
Despite hamstring injuries limiting him to just three games this past season, he dazzled at the combine, showing just what he’ll bring to the table: a major threat that can work the middle of the field and create space.
While he didn’t run a 40-yard dash (saving for his pro day workout), he blew away the field in agility drills, running a 3.93 short-shuttle and a 6.57 three-cone, numbers that rank around the 99th percentile among WRs all-time.
Teams That Could Draft Smith-Njigba
I get that Houston could draft its franchise pivot and then a key weapon like Smith-Njigba with those two picks, but the Texans needs a ton of talent. If they’re not thinking of trading down and earning as many picks as possible, that could be a critical L.
Baltimore is a surprise, not only because Lamar Jackson’s contract situation isn’t exactly great, but GM Eric DeCosta has admitted that they’ve struggled drafting receivers. While he says they’re going to keep swinging, I don’t see BMore trading up.
Over the last two years, Jaxon Smith-Njigba has hauled in 92% of his catchable targets—the highest rate of any FBS receiver. pic.twitter.com/HdMgA5ovUx
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) March 3, 2023
The first logical choice here is the New York Giants (+1000), who just locked up Daniel Jones, and need to beef up his skill position players. Suddenly, Big Blue’s short-passing game could get explosive.
Just down the board are the Packers (+1100), and this is the hottest rumor making the rounds. Whether it’s Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love at the helm, their receiver room needs more talent to line up across Christian Watson. If Green Bay stays notoriously stingy in free agency, this would be a great option at the 15 pick.
The Pack was one of three teams that he met with at the combine, along with the Cowboys (+1000) and Patriots (+1100).
Jaxson Smith-Njigba Receiving Stats
Atlanta (+2500) picks eighth, and they already have young studs in TE Kyle Pitts and Drake London, but adding Smith-Njigba would give them arguably the best young receiving core in the league. It would also give them their best chance to evaluate 2nd-year pivot Desmond Ridder.
Seeking a little more value? The Buffalo Bills (+3400) have plenty of talent, but no one that can consistently make hay with the space created by Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis and Dawson Knox in the short and intermediate areas. Buffalo is picking 28th, so they’ll have to trade into Smith-Njigba range.
Who’s The Best Best Bet to Draft Jaxson Smith-Njigba?
Smith-Njigba will be valuable anywhere he goes, and you can expect the announcers fawn at how lucky x team is for drafting him.
That’s why we included the whole field here: everyone is in play.
With that said, the Pack makes way too much sense in the 15 spot. However, if the Rodgers’ trade to the Jets does come to fruition, you may want to consider the Jets at 13. Rodgers might not trust young receivers, but with Smith-Njigba and Wilson, he’d be armed with two of the best young talents in the NFL.
Pick: Green Bay Packers to Draft Jaxson Smith-Njigba (+1100)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgeable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.