However, it would behoove the team to keep him happy with his expected arrival at some point this offseason. One way they could do that according to Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic is by selecting wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Gang Green holds the No. 13 overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL draft.
Rosenblatt recently ranked the team’s top draft targets at that spot and the former Ohio State product cracked the list. Rosenblatt confirmed if the Jets made that selection it would make both his former teammate Garrett Wilson and Rodgers “happy.”
In Dane Brugler’s draft writeup for The Athletic, The Beast, he categorized JSN as a “surehanded target” and a “crafty route runner.”
Aaron Rodgers Isn’t Accustomed to Top Talent at WR, Jets Can Change That
It is very easy to understand why that investment in the first round by the Jets would make A-Rod very happy.
The Green Bay Packers, his current team, hasn’t selected a wide receiver in the first round since 2002. Rodgers wasn’t drafted by Green Bay until 2005.
Rich Cimini of ESPN revealed that if Rodgers lands with the Jets via trade he will have an opportunity to throw the first touchdown pass of his career to a first-round wide receiver. A wild stat.
Gang Green currently boasts two players that fit that particular description in Wilson and Corey Davis. However, the addition of JSN would increase that number to three.
If the Jets selected Smith-Njigba that would make back-to-back years that they selected a wide receiver in the first round. In the modern draft era (since 1970), the Jets have never taken a wideout in the first round in back-to-back years.
Jets Are Interested in Upgrading at WR
Rosenblatt noted in his column posted on Thursday, April 20 that the Jets don’t “need” another wide receiver. However, the team’s public flirtations with Odell Beckham Jr indicate they’re interested in hitting the upgrade button.
NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein said one concern with JSN is that most of his collegiate production “came in one season.”
It is a valid criticism but man that one season was spectacular at Ohio State. In 2021 Smith-Njigba caught 95 receptions for 1,606 receiving yards and nine touchdowns.
Brugler said that season was highlighted by the finale in the Rose Bowl when JSN registered “an NCAA bowl record” 347 receiving yards in a single game.
Most of that production came in the slot (88.3 percent of his snaps last two seasons, per Brugler) but that is exactly where he’d plug in with the Jets in 2023.
With a slew of outside receivers available on this Jets roster, JSN could eat on the inside.
He won’t wow you with his speed “closer to average than above average”, per Brugler. However what he lacks in separation he more than makes up for with fluid route running.
JSN has been heralded as an intense competitor, a natural athlete, and possesses an innate feel for the game according to a variety of coaching interviews featured in The Athletic.
Smith-Njigba is only 21 years of age and he has a chance to get even better at the next level.