The Seahawks added the draft's top receiver to an already talented position group, selecting Ohio State's Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the 20th overall pick, Seattle's second selection in the first round after taking Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon with the fifth pick.
Smith-Njigba, the first receiver selected in the 2023 draft, was limited to just three games last season due to a hamstring injury, but in 2021 he was one of college football's most productive receivers, catching 95 passes for 1,606 yards, a season punctuated by a huge performance in the Rose Bowl in which he caught 15 passes for 347 yards and three scores.
"It was awesome," he said of getting the call from the Seahawks. "I was in there sweating a little bit, but I knew I had talked to Seattle and really like them, and I thought they really liked me. It was really overwhelming. I was just happy, my family was all here and got to witness it.
"I know they're a hard-working, gritty team. The kind of culture that Coach Pete Carroll was talking about when we met, it fits who I am and my standard and what I believe in, so I think it's an awesome fit, an awesome opportunity. I'm so excited they called my name, and I know they won't regret it."
Asked what he does best as a receiver, Smith-Njigba said, without hesitation, "I get open."
The Seahawks will look to Smith-Njigba to give them another dynamic threat in the passing game along with receivers DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, not to mention a talented group of tight ends. And Smith-Njigba is no stranger to sharing the spotlight at receiver as a part of a talented trio. In 2021, he played with Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, both of whom were first-round picks in last year's draft before going on to become two of the league's top rookie receivers.
"Super excited," Smith-Njigba said of joining Metcalf and Lockett in Seattle. "Big fans of those guys. For me to be in that room, I know how I am, that's just going to push me to compete harder and find my way amongst those guys. I'm looking forward to lining up next to them."
As for that hamstring injury that limited him last year, Smith-Njigba said, "I'm 100 percent healthy, ready to go."