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Friday Round-Up: Jaxon Smith-Njigba In Position To "Breakout" To Close 2023 Rookie Season

Marcus Mosher of The 33rd Team breaks down why Seahawks rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba is set to break out before season’s end.


Good afternoon, 12s. Here's a look at what's out there today — Friday, December 8 — about your Seattle Seahawks.

Marcus Mosher of The 33rd Team selects Jaxon Smith-Njigba to have breakout finish to the 2023 season.

The Seahawks selected Ohio State wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 20th overall selection in April’s draft. Through 12 weeks, Smith-Njigba has overcome injury to become one of Seattle's primary offensive targets. Marcus Mosher of The 33rd Team breaks down why Smith-Njigba has a chance to be a "breakout" player over the final-five games of the season.

The first wideout selected in this year's draft class, Smith-Njigba has a quiet start to the season, gaining 62 yards on 12 receptions over his first four games. After dealing with a hamstring injury that hampered his final season at Ohio State, Smith-Njigba suffered a wrist injury just before the start of the season, and while he was able to make it back for the season opener, he missed important preparation during training camp and the preseason. But since mid-October, Seattle has slowly begun to unleash the 21-year-old. Through 12 games, Smith-Njigba ranks third among Seahawks pass-catchers in receptions (45) and yards (468) receiving yards (10.4 YPC), and has two receiving touchdowns.

In last week's 41-35 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Smith-Njigba showed up big in his return to his hometown, catching a career-high seven receptions for 62 yards. Late in the first half, Smith-Njigba caught a touchdown that was called back. Smith-Njigba now has 50-plus receiving yards in four of his last-eight contests, while receiving five or more targets six times in that span. Mosher breaks down why the Dallas game could be the precursor for the ball coming Smith-Njigba's way even more, as the 6-6 Seahawks look to make a playoff push.

Against the Dallas Cowboys, he was even better than the box score suggests. Right before halftime, he caught an incredible 30-yard touchdown with just seven seconds remaining. Unfortunately, that play was overturned after the ball moved ever so slightly when he hit the ground.

Smith-Njigba did draw a pass interference in the end zone that gave the ball to the Seahawks at the 1-yard-line (DK Metcalf scored on the next play). That play doesn't show up in the box score, but it was a massive momentum change that helped Seattle take a one-point lead going into halftime.

The Seahawks are fighting to earn a playoff spot in the NFC, and it's clear Smith-Njigba is their second-best option in the passing game after Metcalf. After his performance on Thursday Night Football, it only makes sense to get him more involved in the offense over the final five games, especially with games coming up against the San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers.

With five games remaining, Seattle is fighting for a playoff spot as they prepare to face the San Francisco 49ers for the second time this season on Sunday. Smith-Njigba needs 23 receptions to surpass Legend Joey Galloway (67) for most rookie receptions in a season in franchise history. The Seahawks playoff fate remains in their hands - but the budding potential of their first-round wideout selection is just beginning to show.

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