Smith-Njigba Shows Out At Ohio State Pro Day

By March 23, 2023 (9:00 am)Football

After missing much of last season with a lingering hamstring injury, wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba showcased his abilities at Ohio State’s pro day on Wednesday.

The former Buckeye competed in various speed and agility drills while also showing off his route-running and catching abilities during quarterback C.J. Stroud’s throwing session. As he was unable to give scouts a glimpse of his talent during the season due to the injury, Smith-Njigba said he wanted to use this time to remind scouts of what he can do on the field.

“I just (wanted to show) my route running, my abilities to catch the ball and get open,” Smith-Njigba said Wednesday. “There are no guys out here guarding me, but I feel like if you see it, you can tell that I’ll be able to get open.”

After deciding to forgo the 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine in early March, Smith-Njigba tested his speed in front of scouts and executives from 30 NFL franchises Wednesday. Smith-Njigba registered a 4.48 time on his lone 40-yard dash attempt, opting to run just once rather than twice — the standard amount of attempts at the combine and pro day.

“I felt pretty good,” Smith-Njigba said of running the 40-yard dash. “It is what it is, I felt like I definitely could have run better. I told myself that I was only going to run one, and I ran one. I’m pleased with what I did and I’m happy I get to walk off of this field happy.”

Smith-Njigba ran a variety of routes during the throwing session, giving scouts a glimpse at how he operates in short, intermediate and deep-ball situations. While Smith-Njigba showcased his route-running, he also rekindled his connection with Stroud as the pair hooked up on several occasions during the throwing session.

“It was a blessing, that’s my brother, I love him,” Smith-Njigba said about catching passes from Stroud again. “I’m happy we’ve gotten to share this opportunity.

“He makes life easy. I know what to expect, I know what I’ll get, I know his tendencies and what he likes and doesn’t like,” he continued. “To be able to go through this process with him, it’s just a blessing.”

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day also recognized the value of Smith-Njigba’s outing at pro day while noting the Rockwall, Texas, native provided scouts with a solid showing of his abilities.

“It was great for everybody to see Jaxon back out there,” Day said. “You could see his quickness, you could see his ball skills, his speed.”

As the dust settled on Ohio State’s pro day, Smith-Njigba was satisfied with the effort he put forward, adding that he felt he boosted his status among the NFL Draft pool.

“I always felt like I was the top receiver in the draft. Not being able to play last year sucked for me. One, just not being out there, and two, just people not being able to see the full progression of that year,” Smith-Njigba said. “I hope (I showed out). If it was me evaluating, I would think so.”

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