Jaxon Smith-Njigba

WR Notes: Watson, Metchie, Chark, McLaurin, Smith-Njigba

Jordan Love‘s tenure as the Packers‘ full-time starting quarterback will have a bit of a hurdle to navigate this week. In his first start since November 2021, Love will be without the team’s top returning receiver Christian Watson, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.

Watson is dealing with a hamstring injury that could potentially lead to an extended absence. Head coach Matt LaFleur claimed that he doesn’t think Watson will reach a three- or four-week absence but classified the second-year wideout as week-to-week.

The top target in Watson’s absence, fellow sophomore receiver Romeo Doubs, is also dealing with a hamstring injury but is only listed as questionable heading into the weekend. Rookie wideout Dontayvion Wicks is the third such receiver on the team dealing with a hamstring injury, but he managed to avoid the injury report altogether. Star tackle David Bakhtiari is also available after staying off the injury report.

Here are a few more reports on wide receiver injuries from around the league heading into Week 1:

  • The world will have to continue to wait for the NFL debut of Texans wide receiver John Metchie III, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. Despite making a recovery from both a torn ACL and leukemia, Metchie is still dealing with a nagging hamstring injury. Houston is being patient, taking a “big-picture approach” to Metchie’s return. The team will be without safety Jimmie Ward and linebacker Blake Cashman for Week 1, as well.
  • The Panthers are slowly working their way back to full health in their receiving corps, according to Panthers writer Augusta Stone. Back ups Terrace Marshall and Ihmir Smith-Marsette are now fully participating in practice after recent injury trouble. Starters Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark Jr. both returned to practice today in a limited capacity. While Thielen was listed as questionable and could still play, Chark has been ruled out for the team’s season opener.
  • The Commanders drew lots of criticism when leading receiver Terry McLaurin sustained an injury as the team played its starters fairly deep into a preseason game in an effort to end the Ravens’ preseason win streak. They’ll dodge a bullet, though, as McLaurin will be active this week after making good progress from his turf toe injury, according to Commanders senior writer Zach Selby. He’s had a couple of full participation practices and should be good to go for Week 1. Defensive end Chase Young has been listed as questionable, though. Head coach Ron Rivera claimed that “if (Young’s) cleared, he’ll go.”
  • Despite undergoing wrist surgery just two and a half weeks ago, Seahawks rookie first round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba is expected to play in the team’s season opener against the Rams this Sunday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Head coach Pete Carroll, who was optimistic on the recovery timeline, confirmed as much this week.

Seahawks WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba To Undergo Wrist Surgery

5:37pm: While Pete Carroll is notoriously optimistic on injury timetables, the 14th-year Seahawks HC gave one that does not make it look like the No. 20 overall pick will recover in time for Week 1. Smith-Njigba will be sidelined for at least three or four weeks, Carroll said (via Fox 13 Seattle’s Curtis Crabtree).

12:44pm: Seattle may be notably shorthanded at the receiver spot at the start of the regular season. First-round rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba is undergoing wrist surgery today to treat a broken bone, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).

The injury occurred during the Seahawks’ preseason game against the Cowboys on the weekend, and it could cost him regular season time. Schefter adds that the surgery will determine whether or not Smith-Njigba will be able to suit up for Week 1, which is less than three weeks away.

Seattle has D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett firmly in place as receiver starters, but it came as little surprise that the team sought out an addition to that tandem early in the draft. After using the 2023 first-rounder acquired in the Russell Wilson trade on cornerback Devon Witherspoon, the Seahawks used their other Day 1 selection on Smith-Njigba.

That began a run of four straight wideouts being taken, and gave the Seahawks a pass-catcher capable of making an impact on their offense in both the short- and long-term. The 21-year-old staked a case to be the No. 1 wideout in the 2023 class during his sophomore season at Ohio State. Competing for targets with eventual first-rounders Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Smith-Njigba posted 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns on 95 receptions. That led to massive expectations for a follow-up in 2022, but a lingering hamstring injury limited him to just three games.

Seattle would be wise to proceed with caution if Smith-Njigba’s procedure leaves his Week 1 availability in doubt. Any extended absence would, however, leave a noticeable drop-off beyond Metcalf and Lockett at the receiver position. Dee Eskridge was suspended for the first six games of the campaign after a domestic violence arrest, which will place more responsibility on Smith-Njigba to at least serve as an effective third option when he starts his pro career. The time at which that will happen is now up in the air.

Seahawks Sign WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

The first wide receiver off this year’s draft board will be the first of that Round 1 group to sign his rookie contract. Jaxon Smith-Njigba agreed to terms with the Seahawks on Thursday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Chosen 20th overall, Smith-Njigba will be tied to a four-year deal that includes a fifth-year option the Seahawks — assuming the Ohio State-developed prospect remains under contract down the road — must exercise by May 2026. For now, Smith-Njigba is the second of this year’s first-rounders — following Eagles defensive tackle Jalen Carter — to sign his rookie deal.

Smith-Njigba began this year’s run on wide receivers, with three others — Quentin Johnston (Chargers), Zay Flowers (Ravens), Jordan Addison (Vikings) — going off the board from Nos. 21-23. Smith-Njigba is coming off essentially a lost 2022 season. He played in only three games and caught just five passes, nursing a nagging hamstring injury throughout. Despite suffering the injury early in the season, Smith-Njigba did not return in time the Buckeyes’ New Year’s Eve CFP semifinal matchup against Alabama. While that generated some scrutiny, JSN’s dominant sophomore season still powered him to a top-20 draft slot.

Playing on a Buckeyes team deploying 2022 first-rounders Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Smith-Njigba led the Big Ten powerhouse in receiving — by a substantial margin — and delivered a monster Rose Bowl performance to punctuate his breakthrough year. Smith-Njigba caught 95 passes for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns as a sophomore. Against Utah in that season’s Rose Bowl, he snagged 15 passes for 347 yards and three TDs. Although his hamstring issue undoubtedly came up in pre-draft visits, teams were willing to look past that trouble because of the 2021 emergence.

Not one of the teams linked to Smith-Njigba, the Seahawks will add him to a receiving corps that already includes standouts Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Smith-Njigba will not be extension-eligible until 2026, and with teams often waiting until Year 5 on non-quarterback first-rounders’ deals to do extensions, this contract figures to line up well with the higher-end deals given to Lockett and Metcalf. Largely a slot target at Ohio State, the 6-foot rookie is set to become a high-upside WR3 in Seattle to start his career.

Seahawks Select WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba At No. 20

The first wide receiver is finally off the board. The Seahawks have used pick No. 20 on Ohio State wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

Even while playing alongside 2022 first-round picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, Smith-Njigba posted a huge season in 2021, hauling in 95 receptions for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns. The then-ascending Buckeye was expected to take another step in 2022 as the top receiver on the depth chart, but he was limited to only three games and five catches while dealing with a lingering hamstring injury.

Despite the injury, ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rated Smith-Njigba as one of four wide receivers with a first-round grade (alongside TCU’s Quentin Johnston, Boston College’s Zay Flowers, and USC’s Jordan Addison). The Ohio State product ended up being the first of that grouping off the board, although his selection came a bit later than anticipated.

The Seahawks were reportedly motivated to select a quarterback at some point on Thursday. However, the front office used the fifth overall pick on cornerback Devon Witherspoon, and the team is using its second first-round select on a skill player. This will bolster Geno Smith‘s chances of replicating his stunning 2022 slate, rather than introducing an eventual replacement.

Smith-Njigba generated late momentum to be the first wideout off the board, and instead of heading to a team with a clear need at the position, he will join one of the NFL’s best receiving pairs. The latest Buckeye receiver standout to be a Round 1 choice, Smith-Njigba spent much of his time as a C.J. Stroud slot target.

The one-year Big Ten wonder will join a talented wide receivers corps that also includes D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. After the Seahawks have not received much from 2021 second-round pick D’Wayne Eskridge, the team doubled down to give Smith another weapon alongside the Metcalf-Lockett duo.

AFC South Notes: Colts, QBs, Texans, Titans

While the Texans may be torn on a quarterback pick, the Colts are a near-lock to select a passer with their first choice. It is now possible every passer but Bryce Young will be available for Indianapolis at No. 4, which would put the retooling team to a decision. The Colts-Will Levis connection may be this draft’s second-strongest tie — after the Panthers-Young match — but Albert Breer of SI.com notes assistant GM Ed Dodds is high on C.J. Stroud. Dodds has been with Indy since 2017, becoming Chris Ballard‘s top lieutenant soon after the GM’s arrival.

Ballard, whom Breer adds was high on Levis beginning back in the fall, also is believed to place value on the increasingly popular S2 cognition test; Stroud’s low score has been leaked. Another team moving into the Texans or Cardinals’ spots could end up making the decision for the Colts, but if no trades emerge, Indy might have a fascinating Stroud-or-Levis decision on its hands. The two seem to be trending in opposite directions, but the Ohio State prospect has received higher grades — by scouting outlets and anonymous evaluators — as a prospect.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • With the Texans set for a complex call at No. 2 overall, not much has emerged regarding their No. 12 choice. But Houston, in the wake of the latest Brandin Cooks trade, may be targeting receiving help. Of the receivers, the Texans prefer Jaxon Smith-Njigba, per the Washington Post’s Jason La Canfora. Despite missing almost all of his junior season, Smith-Njigba has regained momentum and has the best chance to be the top wideout of the board. With the Packers (No. 13) and Jets (No. 15) connected to the one-year Buckeyes wonder, the Texans could outflank their potential competition. John Metchie is back at work for the Texans, after missing 2022 following a leukemia diagnosis, but the team dealt Cooks to the Cowboys and did not do too much — the Robert Woods pickup notwithstanding — to replace him. The Texans are also considering moving down from No. 12, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who adds teams are not too interested in moving to 2.
  • One of the teams lurking as a trade-up candidate to outflank the Colts, the Titans are now being linked to trading back and accumulating picks. Both La Canfora and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler indicate buzz has emerged tying Tennessee to a trade-down effort from No. 11. Yes, with a few exceptions, most teams are willing to move up or down in each draft. But the Titans do have a decision to make regarding their QB future. The team toured prospects’ pro days but did not exhaust “30” visit resources at the position. Stroud is believed to be the Titans’ preference — assuming Young is out of the equation — and La Canfora views Titans trade-down talk as a smokescreen effort. Tennessee is believed to have dangled Ryan Tannehill in trades.
  • Although Jeffery Simmons staged a minicamp hold-in effort last year and lobbied for a new deal, Breer writes the Titans did not consider trading the standout defensive lineman. Ownership also assured Simmons, who since-fired GM Jon Robinson drafted in the 2019 first round, he was a long-term priority despite Robinson’s ouster, TitanInsider.com’s Terry McCormick tweets. The Titans made Simmons the NFL’s second-highest-paid defensive tackle, at $23.5MM per year, and gave him the highest D-tackle guarantee. Simmons is also coming off ankle surgery; the fifth-year standout said he underwent a cleanup procedure this offseason.
  • Jimmie Ward‘s issues with a return to cornerback last season became well known, but the longtime 49ers defender — after being moved to nickel corner again in-season — said he told DeMeco Ryans he expected last season to his his San Francisco finale. But Ward said (via KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson) Ryans communicated to him he would be interested in bringing the veteran defender to his HC destination. Ryans followed through on that, with the Texans signing Ward to a two-year, $13MM deal. Ward is back at safety.
  • Jaguars fourth-year cornerback Chris Claybrooks faces misdemeanor charges of domestic assault with bodily injury and vandalism under $1,000 stemming from an arrest earlier this month in Nashville, Jacksonville.com’s Gerry Smits reports. Claybrooks allegedly grabbed his ex-girlfriend’s arm and threw her cellphone to the ground.

Latest On Jets’ First-Round Plans, Corey Davis’ Future With Team

The Jets are more likely than not to give up their 2024 first-round pick for Aaron Rodgers, considering the future Hall of Famer has played at least 65% of the Packers’ offensive snaps in 13 of the past 15 seasons. That will increase the pressure on the organization to nail its first-round pick this year.

Moving down from No. 13 to No. 15 via the Rodgers swap, the Jets are being connected to both tackles and a wide receiver. The organization has done considerable homework on Jaxon Smith-Njigba, per Matt Miller of ESPN.com, though he also views the Ohio State prospect as a candidate to go in the Jets’ old draft slot. A report this week indicated the Packers — they of zero first-round receiver picks since Javon Walker in 2002 — are believed to be interested in Smith-Njigba.

Taking a receiver so early would be a risky move for a team with a glaring tackle need, but the Jets obviously found a gem in former Smith-Njigba teammate Garrett Wilson at No. 10 last year. That move came after the Jets were connected to just about every potentially available wideout via trade. Smith-Njigba profiles as a slot weapon, and the Jets have moved on from both Elijah Moore and Braxton Berrios this offseason. JSN has taken some heat for seeing an early-season hamstring injury essentially end his junior year, but a standout sophomore season — during which he compiled 1,606 yards — far more than Wilson or Chris Olave in 2021 — has him as a strong option to be the first receiver taken in this draft.

The Jets signed Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman, but they also chased Odell Beckham Jr. The team still could be readying to add Randall Cobb, but doing so after drafting a receiver at No. 15 might not make much sense — Rodgers’ wish list notwithstanding. Sitting as the potential odd man out, Corey Davis also remains on Gang Green’s roster. The Jets were expected to cut Davis if they signed Beckham, but with the Ravens winning that derby, Davis (and a $10.5MM base salary) linger. His Jets fate may depend on how the team proceeds in the early rounds.

Corey is selfless; Corey is an unbelievable worker; he’s a great professional for some of our young guys to look up to and model their approach, their work ethic to this game,” Jets GM Joe Douglas said this week. “And look, we all know that there is a business aspect to football, but Corey is a valued member of this team and this franchise.”

Rodgers famously spent most of his Packers career without a first-round wideout to target. The Jets adding another to the equation would likely mean a Davis exit. The team would save $10.5MM by releasing the former top-five pick at any point this offseason.

Prior to the Rodgers trade, ESPN.com’s Rich Cimini offered a Broderick Jones connection (Twitter link). The Jets hosted the former Georgia left tackle, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler adds the team gave the one-year Bulldogs starter positive feedback during that meeting. Dropping to No. 15 opens the door to the Patriots, who hold the No. 14 pick and have a tackle need, taking a potential Jets target. The Pats also hosted Jones on a pre-draft visit. Before the Jets parted with the 13th pick, NBC Sports’ Peter King had them drafting Jones as well. SI.com’s Albert Breer sends Smith-Njigba to the Jets.

It will be interesting to see if the Jets’ Rodgers trade terms lead to Jones being out of reach. If Jones is off the board, Tennessee’s Darnell Wright could become a Jets consideration. Wright has experience at both left and right tackle, having made 27 starts on the right side and 13 at the more glamorous spot. The Jets have Duane Brown going into his age-38 season and Mekhi Becton a true wild card, given his knee trouble. Scouts Inc. rates Wright 18th overall, slotting the ex-Volunteers starter as this draft’s fourth-best O-lineman.

Paris Johnson and Peter Skoronski figure to be off the board by the time the Jets’ pick arrives. The Jets drafting an O-lineman in Round 1 would make three such investments in four years for Douglas, who took Becton in 2020 and Alijah Vera-Tucker in 2021.

Packers Targeting WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba At No. 13?

As part of the Aaron Rodgers/Jets trade, the Packers managed to move up two spots in the first round. Green Bay’s front office is hoping that jump will help them secure one of the draft’s top wide receivers. According to Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com (via Twitter), the Packers are hoping their leap from No. 15 to No. 13 will make it “easier to secure” Ohio State wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba.

[RELATED: Packers, Cowboys Eyeing TE Michael Mayer?]

Following a 10-reception season as a freshman, Smith-Njigba broke onto the scene in 2021. Despite playing alongside 2022 first-round picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave, the sophomore managed to haul in 95 receptions for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns. Smith-Njigba was expected to take another step in 2022 as the top receiver on the depth chart, but he was limited to only three games and five catches while dealing with a lingering hamstring injury.

Smith-Njigba ended up declaring for the draft before Ohio State’s CFP semifinal against Georgia, citing the fact that he wouldn’t be healthy enough to contribute in the postseason. While that decision could have hurt his draft stock, precedent suggests that teams will look past his injury-marred junior campaign. It was just last year that the Lions selected Jameson Williams despite his torn ACL.

Indeed, ESPN’s Scouts Inc. rated Smith-Njigba as one of four wide receivers with a first-round grade (alongside TCU’s Quentin Johnston, Boston College’s Zay Flowers, and USC’s Jordan Addison). Now sitting at No. 13, the Packers could be in prime position to select their preferred receiver, especially if one of Johnson/Flowers/Addison is selected within the top-12. The Giants, who are currently armed with the No. 25 pick, were previously mentioned as a potential landing spot for Smith-Njigba.

Despite moving on from their franchise QB, the Packers are still looking for offensive weapons to surround Jordan Love. We heard earlier today that the team was eyeing Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer, and the team also previously hosted Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid on a visit.

Growing Certainty Jaxon Smith-Njigba Will Be First WR Drafted

There are a number of wide receivers with first round grades, including TCU’s Quentin Johnston, USC’s Jordan Addison, Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt, and Boston College’s Zay Flowers. All have their pluses and minuses and can bring different things to an NFL offense. But, for a number of reasons, Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba is starting to run away with the title of WR1 in the 2023 NFL Draft class.

Smith-Njigba is a true slot receiver, spending almost 90% of his time at Ohio State on the inside. He makes up for a lack of size and top end speed with agility, body control, and strong hands. Despite being a Buckeye for the past three years, he only has one full season of production at the college level, after missing 10 games with a hamstring injury last year.

He benefitted in that full season from having first-round picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave surrounding him. Still, Smith-Njigba outperformed both players in 2021, with 95 receptions, to Wilson’s 70 and Olave’s 65, and 1,606 receiving yards, to Wilson’s 1,058 and Olave’s 936. He didn’t have as many receiving touchdowns as Wilson (12) or Olave (13), but he still managed to find the end zone nine times.

The Eagles, holding the 10th overall pick, have reportedly been doing some last-second research on wideouts, according to Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network, specifically doing homework on Smith-Njigba. The Jets are another team to watch here. New York would prefer to take a top offensive tackle prospect, but if none are available, it’s hard to see Smith-Njigba slipping past them at No. 13. The Cowboys have also shown some recent interest in the wide receivers of the draft, but at No. 26 overall, Smith-Njigba isn’t likely to be around.

Regardless of where he hears his name called, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Smith-Njigba is establishing himself as one of the best, if not the best, pass catching prospect in the draft. If Pauline is correct, Smith-Njigba could find himself catching passes from Jalen Hurts or Aaron Rodgers next September.

WR Draft Rumors: Smith-Njigba, Flowers, Downs, Giants

We’ve recorded a number of visits for Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba, one of the 2023 NFL Draft’s top wide receivers. So far, he’s visited (or reportedly made plans to visit) the Giants, Falcons, Ravens, Texans, Bills, and Cowboys. A new report, from Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, adds the Cardinals, Bears, Saints, and Panthers to that list.

Several NFL teams are looking past an injury-plagued final season at Ohio State and focusing on an outstanding sophomore season that saw Smith-Njigba vastly outperform last year’s first-round picks Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave. In the 21-year-old’s strongest season, he led the team in receptions (95) and receiving yards (1,606) while reeling in nine touchdowns.

All four teams currently have some strong players in the receivers room, but Arizona could likely use the most help at the position with DeAndre Hopkins likely on his way out. The Saints currently roster Smith-Njigba’s former teammate, Olave, along with Michael Thomas and last year’s other rookie Rashid Shaheed. The Bears brought in D.J. Moore from Carolina and hope he will supplement Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool, who both had disappointing seasons in 2022. Carolina won’t miss Moore too much after bringing in Adam Thielen and DJ Chark to play with Terrace Marshall.

Smith-Njigba could potentially play an exclusive role in the slot as a pro, which would really open up the playing opportunities on the outside for the players mentioned above. Regardless, it’s become clear to see that Smith-Njigba has been a hot name in the weeks leading up to the draft.

Here are some rumors concerning other top wideouts in the upcoming draft:

  • Likewise to Smith-Njigba, Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers has already had a number of reported visits including the Patriots, Giants, Cowboys, Raiders, and Saints. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the 22-year-old will be adding the Bills to that list. Buffalo currently boasts a strong top-two in Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis, but with the departure of Isaiah McKenzie in free agency, they could use a strong WR3. At 5-foot-10, Flowers would be a perfect fit alongside Diggs and Davis, who excel on the outside.
  • In a strange sequence of events, North Carolina wide receiver Josh Downs, who is expected to be a Day 2 draft pick, has reportedly not set up any official visits, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Over the past two years with Drake Maye at quarterback, Downs racked up 195 receptions for 2,364 yards and 19 touchdowns, leading the team in both categories both seasons. The lack of visits certainly doesn’t mean a lack of interest, but it likely won’t help convince teams to move him up their boards.
  • As for what teams may be interested in drafting these top prospects, we’ve heard the common teams like Baltimore, Green Bay, and Houston, but another team to watch is the Giants, according to Matt Miller of ESPN.com. Miller posits that, despite adding Parris Campbell and Jamison Crowder and re-signing Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, the wide receiver position is still dominating conversations around New York. He links Big Blue to Flowers and USC wide receiver Jordan Addison, specifically. The Giants have been connected to just about every top wide receiver in this draft, and it will certainly be interesting to see if the Joe SchoenBrian Daboll regime takes that route months after trading Kadarius Toney.

Giants To Host WRs Jordan Addison, Jalin Hyatt; Team High On Jaxon Smith-Njigba?

Although the Giants made a surprising voyage to the divisional round last season, they are still a team featuring some clear needs heading into the draft. A No. 1-caliber wide receiver is one of them.

The Giants have done their homework on this year’s wide receiver crop leading up to pre-draft visit season, spending time with each of this year’s top-rated wideouts previously. But they will continue to exhaust resources to gauge pass catchers’ viability. USC’s Jordan Addison will meet with the Giants next week, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt is also headed to New York for a Wednesday visit, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

One of the fastest receivers in this year’s class, Hyatt said his hamstring tightened up before he ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash time at the Combine. He did not run at Tennessee’s pro day. While both NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah and ESPN’s Scouts Inc. have Hyatt outside the top 40, ESPN.com’s Matt Miller views the 176-pound burner as a potential top-25 selection. The Bills, Cowboys and Saints have met with Hyatt as well.

Hyatt broke through for a stunning performance against Alabama — in Tennessee’s October win — with a 207-yard, five-touchdown display. Hyatt rode that outing to the Biletnikoff award. Last year represented Hyatt’s only notable run of production with the Volunteers; prior to his 1,267-yard season, the 6-foot target did not top 300 receiving yards in 2020 or ’21.

The Giants, who hold the No. 25 pick, dined with Jaxon Smith-Njigba ahead of the Ohio State alum’s pro day last month. While they are looking into Addison, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano adds Smith-Njigba is the receiver the Giants most likely view as this class’ top prize. A hamstring injury nagged Smith-Njigba throughout last season, but his 2021 — when the slot player’s 1,606 receiving yards dwarfed the totals of first-rounders Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave — still has his stock high. Smith-Njigba might not be available when the Giants pick, and his skillset might not be ideal for a team hoarding slot types already (Sterling Shepard, Parris Campbell, Jamison Crowder to go with Wan’Dale Robinson). A number of teams are looking into the latest draft-eligible Buckeyes receiver talent.

New York is also doing work on front-seven prospects. Defensive lineman Bryan Bresee and edge rusher Will McDonald are on the radar, with SI.com’s Albert Breer indicating (via Twitter) the Iowa State edge visited Monday while the Clemson interior defender is in town today.

Once a top-five national recruit, Bresee bounced back from an injury-plagued 2021. Grading as Jeremiah’s No. 37 prospect, the 298-pound D-tackle could profile as a late-first-round prospect. McDonald saw action in five Cyclones seasons and finished two of them (2020, 2021) in double digits for sacks. The 6-foot-4 edge combined for 26 tackles for loss in that span as well. Both Scouts Inc. and Jeremiah slot McDonald — the Cyclones’ all-time sack leader (34) — 26th in this class.

The Giants are fairly well-invested on both their defensive line and at outside linebacker. They used the No. 5 overall pick on Kayvon Thibodeaux last year and have former second-rounder Azeez Ojulari going into his third season. Up front, the team has Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. Both players are going into contract years, though Lawrence extension talks have begun. A Williams extension also would reduce his mammoth 2023 cap number ($32.26MM).