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Seattle Seahawks Shocking First Round Selections Add Elite Playmakers

In drafting Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the Seattle Seahawks shocked the NFL and added top playmakers to offense and defense.
Devon Witherspoon

Almost unanimously, NFL Draft pundits slotted the Seattle Seahawks to select Jalen Carter at number five. Having the number five selection from the Denver Broncos in exchange for Russell Wilson, the Seahawks stood to immediately improve following a surprising playoff berth in 2022. And so, the number five selection came and Seattle drafted not Carter, but Devon Witherspoon, an elite cornerback from Illinois. In doing so, Seattle addressed an immediate area of concern with the top secondary player of the 2023 NFL Draft. With their original number 20 selection, the Seahawks turned to the other side of the ball and drafted arguably the top-ranked wide receiver, Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Both players can make an impact on day one, improving Seattle’s chances to win the NFC West.

Seattle Seahawks Shock NFL Draft, select Devon Witherspoon and Jaxon Smith-Njigba

The Seattle Seahawks had a phenomenal 2022 NFL Draft, selecting a rookie-of-the-year candidates in running back Henry Walker and cornerback Tariq Woolen. Both of those players were critical to the Seahawks making a surprising run to a Wild Card spot. Although they did not make it out of the Wild Card Round, the 2022 Seattle Seahawks had a lot to offer, often surprising the NFL. Yet, to improve, they needed to shore up a defence that allowed big plays and was poor at tackling. They also needed to add another playmaking receiver to take their offensive threats to the next level.

With selections five and 20, the Seahawks could address both needs. However, Seattle not only addressed their needs, but added arguably the top cornerback and the top wide receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Witherspoon and Smith-Njigba will become top playmakers for Seattle

Devon Witherspoon can make an immediate impact, much akin to Sauce Gardner’s impact on the New York Jets last season. At 6’0” and 180 lbs., Witherspoon is an aggressive and physical corner, willing to attack the run. He is also natural at covering wide receivers. Witherspoon might well find himself heading for a rookie-of-the-year accolade at the end of 2023.

Jaxon Smith-Njigba is a dominant wide receiver capable of out manoeuvring cornerbacks at all levels. He has incredible route-running skills and will simply move faster than cornerbacks after the catch. Unfortunately, a 2022 injury to his hamstring might haunt his first training camp in Seattle. Regardless, he will immediately benefit Geno Smith and add a dynamic playmaker to Seattle’s offense.

One of Seattle’s biggest needs entering this off-season was a definitive playmaker on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Geno Smith is one of the best quarterbacks for Pete Carroll’s system; capable of managing the ball while adding a surprisingly precise deep ball to his repertoire last season. DK Metcalf is a super-star playmaker who can change games and Tyler Lockett is a veteran capable of earning a Pro-Bowl spot any season. While Metcalf’s presence can turn games, Smith-Njigba adds a dynamic playmaker capable of demanding a double-team. Now, any of the trio of Metcalf, Lockett, and Smith-Njigba can demand a double-team on any given day. This will instantly free-up the other two, giving Smith plenty of electricity to play with.

Defensively, the return of Bobby Wagner adds a veteran presence to an otherwise young defence. However, they lack a playmaker who can step up, make a play, and turn the tide of a game. Witherspoon is now that player for Seattle’s defence, and adds a fluency at cornerback the team has not had since Richard Sherman.

On both sides of the ball Seattle got a lot more exciting, and a lot more electric. Both players have the right talent to demand awareness from the opponent that will give others around them more opportunity to make the right plays. After just the first round, Seattle became a debatable favourite in the NFC West.

Main Image: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


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