Falcons Draft Profile Jaxon Smith-Njigba: strengths, weaknesses, highlights, prediction
Strengths and weaknesses:
Without watching Jaxon Smith-Njigba, it isn't difficult to predict what he is on the football field. He is a slot receiver that can create separation and is excellent after the catch.
Let's get more specific, Jaxon or 'JS-N' can simply break defenders' ankles with some of his routes. When he has some space to work with he can make excellent cuts and breaks in his route and has quick feet off the snap. The real magic happens when he catches the football. He is extremely slippery and takes advantageous angles as he tries to make his way closer to the endzone.
JS-N looks like a veteran when trying to find the holes in zone coverage. He has the innate ability to throttle down between two zones or subtlety drift his way into the gaps of the defense. Because of that, he is a reliable option on third or fourth down. He also has good focus on the ball when surrounded by defenders.
Oh, and there was also that time he hauled in 15 catches for 347 yards and three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl against Utah. Ridiculous.
Nearly all of Smith-Njigbas' weaknesses are centered around physicality. He struggles to fight through defenders, avoids contact at all costs, and allows defenders to fight through him with the ball in the air.
He is one of those players who will just fall down if he knows he can't elude a defender and while that can help him stay healthy, it does get frustrating when there are more yards to be had in exchange for some contact.
At times, he had major struggles when trying to haul in low passes. And then if he catches a pass over the middle he usually immediately falls down—while it is more costly in college since you are immediately down, it could still be an issue in the NFL. He looks like a Madden player who can only make possession catches. This usually happened when he was improvising or finding a hole in the defense and didn't know what was behind him.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba should be a slot receiver in the NFL. He is extremely quick but lacks the strength to deal with consistent physicality on the outside. He should be used in the slot where he can go any direction he wants and has more room to maneuver without having hands on him. He is essentially a slot specialist version of Calvin Ridley.