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Friday Media Round-Up: Seahawks Earn A Grades For Day 1 Of 2023 NFL Draft

National and local media gave out high grades for the Seahawks’ selections of Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba in Thursday’s first round.


Good afternoon, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Friday, April 28— about your Seattle Seahawks.

High Praise For Seattle's First Two Picks

With their first two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Seahawks selected Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon (pick No. 5) and wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba (pick No. 20). While not going the route many in the media had predicted with their first-round picks, the Seahawks were the recipients of high praise for their Day 1 choices.

Draft Analyst Chad Reuter of Around the NFL rewarded Seattle an A+ grade for selecting Witherspoon and Smith-Njigba, the only team to earn a perfect mark.

Draft picks

○ Illinois CB Devon Witherspoon (No. 5 overall)

○ Ohio State WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (No. 20)

Analysis: Seattle's trade of Russell Wilson appears to have been the right move, at least after one season. They used the fifth overall pick gained from the Broncos on Witherspoon, which was not a surprise, though he is not as big as some of the corners Seattle has selected recently. He plays larger than his size might suggest. Grabbing the top receiver in the draft in Smith-Njigba will pay dividends. He will slice and dice defenses over the middle and sneak downfield for big plays. These were two very good picks at positions of need.

5) Seattle Seahawks (from Denver): Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois

Rang: Witherspoon probably ranks as one of the favorite players in this class for a lot of scouts, as few can match his ferocity as a competitor. I'll put it as simply as I can — Witherspoon was the best player on the best defense in football last year — an Illinois squad that allowed just 12.77 points per game. Man or zone, press or off, he's a Day 1 tone-setter, and for the Seahawks, he's an immediate upgrade over veteran Mike Jackson opposite last year's rookie star, Tariq Woolen.

Grade: A

20) Seattle Seahawks: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State

Rang: JSN is a bit of an enigma in that his relative lack of production at the college level would suggest he's underdeveloped. After all, 35% of his career receiving yards and four of his 10 touchdowns came in just two games (at Nebraska, and in the Rose Bowl win over Utah to cap the 2021 season). In terms of speed and style, Smith-Njigba couldn't be more different than his speedy Ohio State predecessors Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, but his surprisingly pro-ready game projects very well, nevertheless. One of the greatest challenges college receivers typically have in making the jump to the NFL is the sudden closer proximity and physicality of defenders. JSN is at his best in traffic, showing the poise and skill set to quickly emerge as a legitimate security blanket for some lucky quarterback. He should star in the slot between DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett

Grade: A-

The Seahawks received enough A-grades from national media to make the honor roll, as Charles McDonald of Yahoo Sports broke down Seattle’s selections.

  1. Seattle Seahawks: Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois — Witherspoon isn't the biggest cornerback, but he has all the skills to be a top-flight cornerback for the Seahawks. Tariq Woolen and Witherspoon is an uber-talented young pairing and now the Seahawks have a loaded cornerbacks room, which is never a bad thing. His swagger, physicality and ball skills will instantly make the Seahawks tough to beat through the air. Grade: A+
  2. Seattle Seahawks: Jaxon Smith-Njigba, WR, Ohio State — Great pick for the Seahawks at this point. In the present, they have arguably the best wide receiver trio in the NFL with DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and now Smith-Njigba. The pick of Smith-Njigba will keep their receivers room strong even after Lockett moves on from the Seahawks in the coming years. Grade: A

Some current Seattle players chimed in on social media as well in support of the pair of selections.

Social Post Of The Day

Senior Bowl Director of Operations Jim Nagy declares the Seahawks co-winners of Day One of the 2023 NFL Draft with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Here's what Pacific Northwest and national media had to say following Day One of the 2023 NFL Draft:

Brent Stecker of Seattle Sports 710AM: Draft Reaction: Why Seahawks picked WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba at 20.

Brandon Gustafson of Seattle Sports 710AM: Seahawks Draft Reaction: Huard, Wyman on CB Devon Witherspoon.

From the red carpet to center stage and beyond, take a look at photos from throughout cornerback Devon Witherspoon and wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba's draft day in Kansas City.

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