Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)

Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room: WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State)

Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room examines a pair of plays from NFL Draft prospect Jaxon Smith-Njigba that are indicative of the preparation this compelling wide receiver prospect from Ohio State has shown thus far during his career.

One of the common themes the RSP tries to impress upon the public about scouting talent effectively is that there is a lot more to good football than athletic ability. While most of the top skill position players are excellent athletes, almost all of them are students of the game.

Davante Adams came into the league with the reputation of a top athlete. He’s now known as a master of the technical and conceptual aspects of his position. Listen to him discuss his mindset with releases and routes. I’ve queued it to the exact spot since the Raiders don’t want people to share their video content away from YouTube.

To paraphrase what Adams says, he used to obsess over the tape of his opponents. Now he mostly focuses on what he does, the type of coverages the opposing defense plays, whether the defense he faces uses man-to-man and what type of techniques the defender tends to use.

He roots his route game based on the leverage of defenders who play him one-on-one and having answers to what the leverage dictates and with zone coverage, he needs to know where the holes should be.

The answer may sound like he prepares less, but the real answer is that he’s learned what to prioritize and how to locate the signal from the noise. This is also what top quarterbacks do with processing coverage and making confident decisions at high speed.

I recommend going here to listen further to what his transition to the NFL was like and what differed most between the NFL and college (processing information faster and with fewer mistakes).

When I watch college receivers, I am spending an increasing amount of time looking at how well they adjust to the defense throwing things at them late pre-snap or during the post-snap phase of their route running.

Two plays from Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba demonstrate some burgeoning skill with deciphering information that requires having a well-rehearsed adjustment. This film room illustrates how he handles adjustments with his releases against man-to-man, transitions after the catch, and his work against zone coverage.

We’ll also see where he can get a little more subtle and accurate with his non-verbal communication at the top of routes to his quarterback when facing zone coverage.

And yes, there’s even some discussion about gauging his speed and quickness.

And of course, if you want to know about the rookies from this draft class, you will find the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), with the 2022 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95. 

Matt’s new RSP Dynasty Rankings and Two-Year Projections Package is available for $24.95

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

Best yet, proceeds from sales are set aside for a year-end donation to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse of children. 


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