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Jaxon Smith-Njigba might be the consensus No. 1 wide receiver in the 2023 NFL draft class, but it’s not a unanimous opinion among all 32 teams.
In his mock draft posted on Tuesday, NFL.com’s Peter Schrager noted at least one team has USC’s Jordan Addison as the top-ranked wideout in the class.
Smith-Njigba is still the first receiver off the board to the Green Bay Packers at No. 15 in Schrager’s mock, but he noted this “wideout class is weird this year in that there’s no apparent slam-dunk No. 1” option.
Addison is projected to go No. 23 overall to the Minnesota Vikings by Schrager.
Former NFL scout Jim Nagy, who serves as executive director of the Senior Bowl, noted last week that the league isn’t high on this receiver class and “numerous teams” have Smith-Njigba as the only one with a first-round grade:
Jim Nagy @JimNagy_SB
One thing has become clear on calls around league past couple weeks: NFL isn’t nearly as high on this year’s WR class as media.
Frequently seeing 4-5 wideouts in mocks. Have spoken to numerous teams that have only one first round grade at the position. That guy is JSN.
Peter King of Football Morning in America offered a similar assessment, noting the top “receivers are all bunched up,” with one team having Boston College’s Zay Flowers as the best player and another with Addison in the top spot.
One of the biggest issues for teams when trying to assess the top wideouts is how many of them will likely be confined to the slot. It’s become increasingly important to feature at least three receivers on the field at the same time, but the lack of diversity in the skill set among this group could hinder their value.
Addison is the third-ranked receiver in the 2023 class by B/R’s NFL scouting department, behind TCU’s Quentin Johnston (No. 10 overall) and Smith-Njigba (No. 12). He’s regarded as someone who can play on the outside, but his relative athletic score raises a lot of questions.
Tommy Jaggi @TommyJaggi
Jordan Addison is a good football player, but you don’t take this in the first round. In a better WR class, he’s a day-two pick. #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/cUqDSAUxAm
Addison has an excellent body of work from college to highlight the ways he can win. The 21-year-old won the 2021 Biletnikoff Award when he racked up 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 14 games for Pittsburgh.
After transferring to USC last season, Addison was the No. 1 target for Heisman winner Caleb Williams. He finished with 875 yards and eight touchdowns in 11 games.
Smith-Njigba only had one season of production in three years at Ohio State. He played sparingly as a freshman in 2020, broke out with 1,606 yards as a sophomore in 2021 and was limited to three games last season due to a hamstring injury.
Teams will tell the world what they think of this year’s receiver class when the 2023 NFL draft begins on April 27.