Jaxon Smith-Njigba said he has pre-draft visits scheduled with the Bears, Panthers and Saints.
Cam Brown had dinner with the New Saints last night and has a visit scheduled with the Bengals.
Tanner McCalister is scheduled to visit the Cowboys.
— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) March 22, 2023
With the 2023 NFL draft quickly approaching, the New Orleans Saints are beginning to schedule their prospect visits. We’ve been tracking them for you here. On Wednesday, a new but familiar Pro Day provided an update on a visit scheduled with one of the draft’s top wide receivers: Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Per Eleven Warriors beat writer Dan Hope, Smith-Jigba has a pre-draft meeting scheduled with the Saints. After taking wide receiver Chris Olave in last year’s draft, could the Saints really go for back-to-back Buckeye wideouts?
Seems unlikely, but certainly not out of the realm of possibility. New Orleans did a great job retaining star pass-catcher Michael Thomas on an incentive-heavy contract this offseason, but the position is still one worth addressing. Behind Thomas, Olave and Shaheed things get a little fuzzy toward the bottom of the depth chart.
Smith-Njigba would quell any concerns there may be left at wide receiver and give them their corps of the future. With a trio of Buckeyes in Thomas, Olave and Smith-Njigba along with gamebreaking receiver Rashid Shaheed the Saints would set up quarterback Derek Carr and their offense with just about everything they need to succeed in 2023.
Keep in mind too that Thomas has a healthy amount of roster bonuses that would kick in after the 2024 league year is underway. Meaning the Saints would need to either renegotiate his deal again like this year, or cut him loose before then. Having Smith-Njigba ready to assume the X-receiver role would be a massive win for New Orleans. Assuming the value makes sense.
This move would necessitate either a trade up or a lucky drop to pick No. 29. The latter seemingly unlikely. But New Orleans thought of Olave as a can’t-miss prospect in 2022 and made sure they walked away with them. What would stop them from doing the same in this year’s draft if the Buckeye was their apple of their eye?
The Ohio State product only appeared in 3 games in 2022. But in 2021 he produced some insane numbers. Smith-Njigba put up 95 receptions, 1,606 receiving yards and 9 touchdown catches. That was with first-round receivers Garrett Wilson and Olave on the roster with him. He’s one of the most talented receiver prospects out of the college ranks and even helps New Orleans where they want help the most: contested catch situation. He bring into the NFL a 71.4% contested catch rate including 90% (9 of 10) in 2021.
Couple that with his combination of NFL size and speed and the Buckeyes receiver would be hard to pass up if he’s on the board whenever the Saints select.