Arizona Cardinals could strengthen wide receivers room with Jaxon Smith-Njigba
By Jim Koch
The Arizona Cardinals could reinforce the wide receiver position by selecting one of the NFL Draft's top prospects.
For the Arizona Cardinals, and the rest of the NFL for that matter, the countdown is on. The 2023 draft is now just a few days away, and the "Red Sea" is still in the dark. Will the Redbirds stand pat at the third-overall selection and grab Will Anderson Jr., or will general manager Monti Ossenfort be talked into trading down?
Several intriguing options will be in play if the Cards do ultimately agree to deal the highly-coveted pick. The squad has a bevy of roster holes to fill, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. That doesn't mean, however, that Ossenfort would pass on an opportunity to add a magnificent weapon to the Arizona scoring attack.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba, a wide receiver out of Ohio State University, would be a fantastic addition to the Cardinals offense. For some odd reason, the wideout spot has not been mentioned a whole lot as an area of need for the squad. In fact, many would be shocked if Ossenfort does end up selecting a pass-catcher with the franchise's opening-round choice.
To consider Smith-Njigba as a possibility, the Cards would have to overlook his disappointing 2022 campaign. A nagging hamstring injury limited the youngster to three appearances, and he finished the season with just five catches for 43 yards. While that may be a turnoff for a handful of teams, it's Smith-Njigba's performance from two years ago that has kept him in the first-round conversation.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba would add both size and speed to the Arizona Cardinals receiving corps
Back in 2021, Smith-Njigba hauled in 95 passes for an eye-popping 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns in the 13 contests he dressed for. Even more impressive is the fact that the speedster averaged a whopping 16.9 yards per reception for the Buckeyes' passing attack.
Once the great DeAndre Hopkins is traded, Arizona will possess one of the smallest receiving corps in the league. Receivers like Marquise Brown (5'9,180), Rondale Moore (5'7,180) and Greg Dortch (5'7,173) won't be coming down with many 50/50 balls. The 6 foot, 200 pound Smith-Njigba could provide the Cardinals with some much-needed size at the spot.
Not many draft prognosticators believe that the Cards are going to take a wideout next Thursday night. There's an abundance of first-round talent, so Ossenfort has his work cut out for him. It would not be surprising in the least to find out that Smith-Njigba was somewhere near the top of the GM's draft board.
(Statistics provided by College Football Reference)