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Buffalo Bills top-30 visit analysis: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

All aboard the JSN train

Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One Venture X - Ohio State v Utah Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Let me be clear right off the bat here, Jaxon Smith-Njigba is number one on my wish list for the Buffalo Bills in the 2023 NFL Draft. I’ll get to why later in this article, but I think he would be a perfect fit for Buffalo’s offense. JSN will likely be drafted before Buffalo’s pick at 27, but he may fall far enough that Buffalo could have a chance at trading up for him. Ideally, JSN would fall to pick 20 or later and Buffalo could trade up in that range, but they might have to reach higher than that if they want to secure the number-one wide receiver in this draft. I’m not confident that Buffalo will be afforded a realistic opportunity to go after JSN, but one can hope!

Jaxon Smith-Njigba NFL Scouting Combine/Pro Day

Jaxon Smith-Njigba measured in at 6’1” and 196 pounds with 30.5” arms and 9” hands. Here are the rest of his NFL combine stats:

  • Vertical jump = 35”
  • Broad jump = 10’5”
  • 3-Cone drill = 6.57 seconds
  • 20-yard shuttle = 3.93 seconds

Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle times are off the charts. Both of those times were the fastest out of any player who participated at this year’s combine. JSN didn’t run the 40-yard dash at the combine, but he did run it at Ohio State’s pro day. Here are the results from that pro day 40-yard dash:

  • 40-yard Dash = 4.48 seconds
  • 10-yard spilt = 1.65 seconds
  • 20-yard split = 2.61 seconds

A 4.48-second 40-yard dash isn’t “blazing” but it is plenty fast enough for the wide receiver position. JSN’s game isn’t all about speed anyways. He can get open anywhere on the field and has good wiggle after the catch. His testing numbers match up with his game — lighting-quick in change of direction, above-average athletic profile, but not elite. His route-running abilities, understanding of the game, and ball skills are all elite traits he possesses that can’t be quantified by testing numbers. JSN did himself solid with these tests and didn’t hurt his draft stock in any way.

College Career

In 2021, Jaxon-Smith Njigba took the college football world by storm and emerged as the top receiver prospect in football, but he had his 2022 season cut short by an injury that only allowed him to play in two games.

He set Ohio State receiving records in both receptions (95) and receiving yards (1,606) in 2021. His 1,606 receiving yards were also a Big Ten record. He really came into the spotlight in 2021 when he was the Rose Bowl game MVP. He set Rose Bowl records with his monster performance of 15 receptions, 347 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. In 2021 he was on the same team with two wide receivers who were first-round draft picks in 2022 — Chris Olave (10th overall) and Garrett Wilson (11th overall and NFL offensive rookie of the year). Wilson has also gone on record saying JSN was the best wide receiver out of the trio.

Pros & Cons

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is the number-one wide receiver in this year’s draft class in my opinion, and it isn’t really that close. That being said, there are still some concerns in investing a first-round draft pick in him. Let’s review some pros and cons:


  • Elite route runner — NFL ready
  • Consistently separates from defenders at all levels of routes
  • Smooth runner with plus YAC ability
  • Solid hands — looks calm at catch point
  • Isn’t afraid to make contested catches over the middle
  • Understands how to work zones and find the soft spot
  • Challenges the defender’s leverage in man-to-man and uses it to his advantage
  • Makes tracking a deep ball look easy


  • Missed almost the entire 2022 season with an injury
  • Only one year of production
  • Might be pegged as a “slot only” option. (I think he has the capability to succeed inside or outside, but some teams might only use him in the slot)
  • Lacks “burner speed” — **insert general manager Brandon Beane's “I hope he runs slow” comment here**

In summary

Adding Jaxon Smith-Njigba to Buffalo’s offense would make for a scary proposition for any opposing defense. He would represent another elite wide receiver option for quarterback Josh Allen to throw to and he would make it more difficult for defenses to focus on wide receiver Stefon Diggs. JSN would fill Buffalo’s slot role nicely, which is where he ran the vast majority of his routes out of college, but I suspect that he would be just as effective outside the numbers. Ideally, the Bills could groom JSN for the next five years to potentially take over the “WR1” role for Stefon Diggs when his contract is up. All aboard the JSN train!