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Chargers draft next great OSU WR in new 2023 mock

Smith-Njigba must overcome small sample size to prove he’s a sustainable threat in the NFL.

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

So far this offseason, we’ve seen the Chargers paired with just about every wide receiver with a chance to come off the board in the first round.

In the latest mock draft from CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan, they’re now being paired with Ohio state standout Jaxon Smith-Njigba at No. 21 with Boston College’s Zay Flowers going to the Ravens with the very next pick.

The Chargers have been paired with Flowers before, with some analysts saying that’s his best fit in the NFL, while others such as Quentin Johnston and Jordan Addison have also taken turns in the No. 21 slot.

Here what Sullivan had to say about Smith-Njigba’s fit with the Bolts:

“The wheels fall off whenever Keenan Allen and/or Mike Williams miss time, which only further highlights the need to deepen the wide receiver room. That’s especially true when you consider that Allen will be 31 by the start of next season and L.A. could clear $14.8 million by releasing him. Smith-Njigba could slot in as either a solid complement or ideal replacement for Allen as a high-volume option for Justin Herbert.”

One of the biggest question marks surrounding Smith-Njigba is that most of his college production came from just a single season. After breaking out for 1,606 yards and nine touchdowns during the 2021 campaign, he was limited to just five catches and 43 yards due to a rash of severe injuries that kept him sidelined for most of the season.

With the Chargers coming oof of their own injury-plagued season, specifically at the receiver position, how much confidence could they have in drafting a wideout who hasn’t played much football over the past 1.5 years?

In my opinion, I just don’t see it. Smith-Njigba is being compared to Jarvis Landry, which is the exact opposite of what the Chargers offense needs in terms of receiver archetype. They don’t necessarily want to replace Keenan Allen with another one. Speed is the name of the game and that likely means Smith-Njigba isn’t at the top of the board for the Chargers.