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Seahawks training camp Day 5: Will Jaxon Smith-Njigba's dominance ever quit?
JSN seems ready for primetime, but Seahawks other first round pick may need more time to acclimate: Seaside Joe 1612
Another Seattle Seahawks practice, another day of Jaxon Smith-Njigba making it seem as though he set Texas high school records and Ohio State records and that he’s ready to start in the NFL from day one.
Day: Won since Day One:
Because all eyes on are JSN, it’s possible that most reports and stories coming out of camp overlook the fact that D’Wayne Eskridge may also be having the best practices of his 2.25 year NFL career. If Smith-Njigba weren’t on the Seahawks, it could be that Eskridge is the offensive story of camp and starting in Week 1 against the L.A. Rams.
As that is not the case, I expect JSN to be on the field a lot in Week 1 and leaving limited opportunities for Eskridge, all things being healthy. Which we know is a big ask.
I posted two Seaside Bo-nus articles on Monday morning:
Today’s FREE Seaside Joe is a recap of Monday’s first padded practice, this is the 1,612th day in a row of a free Seahawks article and continues below.
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Here’s what we know from Monday besides the fact that Jaxon Smith-Njigba is awesome.
Seahawks sign RB, waive 2 players
Seattle signed running back SaRodorick Thompson and waived S Mo Osling, LB Cam Bright, all three were undrafted free agents in 2023.
I very briefly touched on Bright in Sunday’s bonus article of training camp storylines to watch and I was right about one thing: The linebacker situation remains fluid. Seattle essentially swapped out Bright for Ben Burr-Kirven, but it could just be a matter of time before Pete Carroll makes the next change there. In my 53-man roster projection, I guessed that linebacker could be a target for claims on the waiver wire at final cuts.
I don’t know how many days exactly that this dates back but the Seahawks have added these players recently: RB Thompson, LB BBK, OLB Levi Bell, RB Wayne Taulapapa, DT Roderick Perry II, CB Andrew Whitaker, CB Chris Steele, CB Benjie Franklin.
We make such a big deal about who a team signs right after the draft, but does it really matter if you can’t make it to the padded portion of training camp? The Seahawks have turned over about 10% of their roster in a matter of a week or two.
SaRoderick Thompson’s career at Texas Tech dates back to 2018, so he played with Jordyn Brooks and played for Kliff Kingbury. His best statistical season came in 2019, when he rushed for 765 yards and 12 touchdowns.
ADDED NOTE: Seahawks sign OT Liam Ryan moments after I posted this article. Ryan was with Seattle previously.
Will Dissly injury news incoming?
Will Dissly eventually made his way onto the field but didn’t practice, which comes on the same day that the Seahawks workout three tight ends: Sal Cannella, Caleb Warren, and Chris Pierce. Warren played FB/TE at Rhode Island, Cannella was in the XFL most recently, Pierce was last on the Cardinals.
After just getting back Noah Fant from PUP, Seattle’s tight end depth is already in question. I’ve not heard anything lately on Tyler Mabry or UDFA rookies Noah Gindorff and Griffin Hebert.
Devon Witherspoon is still acclimating
Let me get this out of the way first: Every report could say that Devon Witherspoon is having literally the worst training camp they’ve ever seen and it wouldn’t impact how I feel about the pick. That’s not just a bias, it’s based on knowing how often training camp storylines just like that one do not lead to anything meaningful. Who remembers Ja’Marr Chase being called a “bust” all the way through his first training camp with the Bengals in 2021?
If you flipped that argument on its head and said that JSN’s training camp reports could then be called ‘overrated’, I’d agree with you. They might be overrated and overstated! We’ll see how things play out when there are games and the games matter.
Witherspoon doesn’t seem to be having as good of an introduction to camp as his first round classmate, but I don’t think that was ever expected. JSN came into the draft looking a lot more pro ready, not just than Witherspoon, but of all 2023 rookies. Witherspoon is also probably playing a more difficult position to learn and has some new assignments from Pete than he would have gotten at Illinois; he’s been moved around on defense constantly during his first offseason.
All JSN has to do is concentrate on the slot, which is his most natural position.
Luckily, the cornerback positions seem ready to go in Week 1 even without Witherspoon, if needed. Pete said that Woolen should be back to the field “within a couple of weeks” and doesn’t sound concerned about that knee injury going past training camp. Mike Jackson and Tre Brown could be two cornerbacks who are too good to keep off of the field. Coby Bryant gets his second opportunity to be Seattle’s answer in the nickel.
The things that we knew that Witherspoon had to get better at in the NFL, like not being so handsy and using his size as an advantage instead of a disadvantage, he should have more time to acclimate as long as the Seahawks cornerbacks unit is healthy by September.
Tyler Lockett may defy the shrinking age gap
The “age gap” is what you could call the difference between the NFL’s top receivers and the NFL’s youngest receivers: As I’ve written many times now, the NFL has all but eliminated receivers in the league who are older than 30 and we’ve got a few very interesting cases to monitor this year. That includes Davante Adams, Cooper Kupp, DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, and Tyler Lockett.
Any time someone wants to “push back” on me saying this, know that I’m not predicting the future, I’m merely recounting the recent past: YOU go back the last 6-7 years or so and you tell me the best wide receivers in the NFL who were at least 30 years old. Then do it for those who were at least 31.
Maybe Lockett will end up as the one out of that group who lasts the longest?
We’ve been saying that Lockett’s “business decisions” could be a big reason why he’s had such a long, successful, and relatively healthy career. Him and Davante Adams are also players who didn’t hit the ground running in their careers, they were good-not-great in the first few seasons and actually got better with age.
It’s awesome if the Seahawks get good seasons out of Lockett, JSN, and DK Metcalf in 2023. It’ll be MONUMENTAL if they get more than one good season out of all three together.
Dre’Mont Jones, Boye Mafe as defensive standouts
Players who I saw mentioned by multiple different Seahawks media members on Monday were Dre’Mont Jones and Boye Mafe. Then Bobby Wagner gave the defensive line a shoutout in his post-practice press conference.
Nobody’s going to turn it down if the Seahawks have a top-five secondary in the NFL this season. But it all starts up front and Seattle needs to see vast improvement from the front-seven if the defense wants to have “top-five” kind of success as a whole.
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