Though he missed a majority of the 2022 season, Ohio State receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba stands as one of the top pass catching prospects from the past few years. Former teammates and first-round picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave even donned him as the best of the trio when they were at Ohio State together. NFL Draft odds suggest Smith-Njigba (or “JSN”) won’t fall far into the first round.
Below, we’ll look at the lay of the land and what team JSN could ultimately land on. Click on odds anywhere in this article to place a bet on 2023 NFL Draft odds.
NFL Draft Odds: Team To Draft Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Click on odds in the table below to place a bet. Each team’s overall pick number for the first round is in parentheses. All teams not listed are 25-1 or longer. Meanwhile, JSN is a huge favorite to be the first WR drafted.
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The Wide Receivers Market
For the past few seasons, the NFL’s been flooded with immense wide receiver talent. In each of the last three drafts, at least five receivers went in the first round, including six in 2020 and 2022. This year is no exception, with at least four receivers expected to go Round 1. Of that group, nobody has the pedigree of JSN.
As a sophomore, he out-performed both Wilson and Olave, setting Ohio State records in yards and receptions. JSN also buried this year’s top receiver, Marvin Harrison Jr., on the depth chart. He missed the majority of his junior season, putting his record-smashing 347-yard Rose Bowl in the recesses of NFL Draft media’s minds. Bump his 2021 season up to 2022, and you might be hearing much more chatter about JSN going in the top-10 picks.
In this receiver class, Smith-Njigba competes with TCU’s Quentin Johnston, Boston College’s Zay Flowers, and USC’s Jordan Addison to be the first WR drafted. Odds suggest all four of these players – with outside shots of Tennessee’s Jailin Hyatt and North Carolina’s Josh Downs – will be taken on Day 1.
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Which Team Will Draft Jaxon Smith-Njigba?
DraftKings Sportsbook pins the Houston Texans (+400) as the current favorite, but not by much. The Texans draft second overall, a pick that’s expected to be used on a quarterback. They also pick 13th, which was acquired from the Browns in the Deshaun Watson trade. Should Houston draft JSN, more likely than not it’ll be at 13. For much of the Draft cycle, this pick made sense and many mock drafts landed JSN here. Houston also traded WR Brandin Cooks to Dallas this offseason.
Ahead of Ohio State’s Pro Day, the New York Giants (+900) had dinner with JSN. Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen attended, along with other staffers. However, selecting at 26, the Giants would almost certainly have to trade up to land him.
Recent developments suggest the Ohio State product won’t be sticking around long. The Rockwall, Texas product took top-30 prospect visits with the Chicago Bears (+500), Carolina Panthers (+3500), and New Orleans Saints (+3000). The Bears pick ninth after swapping picks with the Panthers, who now draft first overall. The likelihood of Carolina picking JSN first is extremely unlikely. The Saints pick 29th, meaning they’d have to trade up.
That leaves the Bears. At No. 9, top options like Will Anderson and Jalen Carter will likely be off the board. Per CBS, the Bears’ top needs include offensive tackle, cornerback, and defensive line. They bolstered a barren receiving corps in that trade for the No. 1 overall pick, landing DJ Moore from Carolina. Moore joins Chase Claypool and Darnell Mooney on a fairly talented receiving corps.
A Longshot To Consider
The Detroit Lions have two first-round picks: sixth and 18th. With the majority of receiver-needy teams picking ahead of them in need of a quarterback more than receiver – Panthers, Texans, Colts – it’s unlikely any of them pull the trigger on a receiver. The other two teams picking ahead of them – Cardinals and Seahawks – also have more pressing needs, particularly on defense.
Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort said outright at the Combine that Arizona was willing to move the No. 3 pick. That trade would likely result in a team moving up for Florida QB Anthony Richardson or Kentucky QB Will Levis. Alabama pass rusher Will Anderson represents a can’t-miss prospect that won’t fall outside the top five.
That leaves the Lions, who DraftKings lines at +4000 to pick JSN, as the first team without a real game plan. They just signed Cameron Sutton at WR and CJ Gardner-Johnson to address needs at corner. Without much money sunk into the receiving corps, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they look to add JSN to a trio that would include him Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jameson Williams.
At the price, I see them as a worthwhile flier. I’m adding the Lions (+4000) and the Bears (+500) to draft Jaxon Smith-Njigba to my NFL Draft betting portfolio.