The newest Seattle Seahawks teammates are already growing a bond as cornerback Devon Witherspoon is thrilled to team up with playmaker Jaxon Smith-Njigba. After finishing his NFL draft press conference, Witherspoon was about to walk out of the room when Heavy Sports informed the defender that the Seahawks were on the clock to select his newest teammate. Witherspoon became enthusiastic while watching the news that Smith-Njigba was heading to the Pacific Northwest as well.
“That’s live! I gotta go talk to him,” Witherspoon said with a smile as he walked out of his press conference in Kansas City.
Here’s a look at the viral reaction that has Seahawks fans buzzing.
Pete Carroll on Devon Witherspoon: ‘We Haven’t Seen a Guy Like This’
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll raved about Witherspoon detailing why the team pivoted from their traditional pattern of selecting corners in the later rounds. The Seahawks coach sees similarities between Witherspoon’s makeup and Hall of Famer Troy Polamalu prompting the team to take a corner earlier than the franchise had during the Carroll-John Schneider era.
“Devon Witherspoon, he’s a rare player,” Carroll told reporters on April 28. “We’ve been through the draft since the years we’ve been here, we haven’t seen a guy like this. We have not drafted corners high just because we haven’t come across a guy of this makeup. It’s really his athletic ability. It’s his speed. It’s his playmaking. It’s his mentality.”
The Seahawks were expected to take one of the top available defensive lineman, but Seattle opted to take Witherspoon at No. 5 over available players like Jalen Carter and Tyree Wilson. The good news is the Seahawks have three day-two picks to potentially address their pass rush, including two second-round selections.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba Is Drawing Comparisons to 5-Time Pro Bowler Jarvis Landry
Seattle has struggled to find a consistent third receiver to play alongside DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett with Smith-Njigba projecting to immediately fill this void. The Seahawks selected Dee Eskridge in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft, but the wideout has been unable to emerge as a threat during his first two seasons in Seattle. Eskridge has battled multiple injuries which have greatly contributed to his slow start.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Smith-Njigba to five-time Pro Bowl playmaker Jarvis Landry. Heading into the college football season, Smith-Njigba was widely projected to be a potential top-10 pick, but a hamstring injury sidelined the receiver for the majority of 2022 contributing to his slide.
“Smith-Njigba is a possession slot receiver who lacks the shake to separate underneath and the speed to run past defenses,” Zierlein detailed in his pre-draft profile. “He’s tough in the middle of the defense and has proven he can make catches in congestion. Smith-Njigba will need to fine-tune his route running to give himself his best chance to succeed at the next level. It is impossible to ignore his monster finish to the 2021 season, and he has starting slot potential, but the speed concerns coupled with an injury-plagued 2022 season threaten to negatively impact his draft stock.”