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Where do Jake Bobo and Jaxon Smith-Njigba stack up against other rookie receivers?

Individually and cumulatively, JSN and Bobo are putting together a year to remember.

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks are in a great spot right now. I’m not talking exclusively about their 4-2 record following the victory over the Arizona Cardinals; I’m talking about the development and performance of not one but two rookie wide receivers who are making a dent on a roster that already features two of the league’s top pass catchers. Of course I am referring to Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jake Bobo!

While both took seemingly polar-opposite routes onto the roster, each has quickly proven to be an asset to this offense. While JSN took a few weeks to get going — at least given his status as the first receiver drafted last April — he shook that off on Sunday as he led the team in yards, and tied with Jake Bobo and Tyler Lockett for a team-leading four receptions each. Between the two of them, they put together 124 yards and two touchdowns. Given the absence of DK Metcalf, their contributions were necessary en route to a ten-point home victory.

Some fuss has been made about Jaxon Smith-Njigba getting out-produced by players who were selected after him, such as Jordan Addison — who just had a phenomenal game last night in the Minnesota Vikings upset victory over the heavily favored San Francisco 49ers — or even the breakout campaign that LA Rams rookie Puka Nacua is putting together (shudder). But the fact of the matter is that Jaxon Smith-Njigba was never expected to see as many opportunities as some of the other guys due to his presumed place on the Seattle roster. Jake Bobo wasn’t even supposed to make the roster until he lit the preseason on fire. Tack on the fact that the Seahawks have been operating with a musical-chairs offensive line that has had almost zero continuity this season. Even with all of this, JSN and Bobo together rank in the Top 10 or even Top 5 statistically relative to other rookie wide receivers this season. Below is (admittedly messy) table that lays out their cumulative stats and where this ranks relative to the 23 other NFL teams that StatHead lists as playing rookie receivers at some point so far this season.

Seahawks rookie WR stats and rankings

. Total Games Games Played GP Rank GS GS Rank TGT Rec Rec Rank Rec/Game Rec/Game rank Yds Y/R Y/R Rank
. Total Games Games Played GP Rank GS GS Rank TGT Rec Rec Rank Rec/Game Rec/Game rank Yds Y/R Y/R Rank
. 6 12 2nd(t) 1 11th(t) 43 28 5th 4.7 4th 285 10.2 14th
Rk (yds/game) TD TD/G TD/G rank Y/G Y/G Rank Ctch% Ctch% Rank Y/Tgt Y/Tgt Rank 1D 1D Rank 1D/Game 1D/Game Rank
9th 3 0.5 3rd 47.5 8th 65.1% 11th 6.6 14th 14 9th 2.3 5th
Cumulative stats and rankings relative to other franchises playing rookie receivers Data from

Sure, you could point out that JSN and Bobo combined are producing at a lower level than guys like the aforementioned Addison, Tank Dell, or Josh Downs. But some of these statistics — like yardage totals — speak less to talent and more to playing time. If Njigba and Bobo were the number one and two guys on this team, then I would expect their numbers to be closer to some of the rookie leaders. Even still, they are projecting to finish better (or at least similarly) to some of the most successful rookie receivers in Seahawks history.

Currently, JSN projects to finish the season with 490 yards and three touchdowns; the former would be the best total by a receiver not name Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf since Doug Baldwin had 618 yards in 2018, according to StatHead. The WR3 has often ranged between 4-6 TDs on the season, and if Njigba continues to develop, he could easily pick up a few more scores as he builds chemistry with Geno Smith. Similarly, Jake Bobo is pacing for somewhere north of 300 receiving yards and six touchdowns, according to ESPN. These aren’t wild numbers, but it is impressive. These yardage totals would put them at 10 and 11 all-time for Seahawks’ rookie wide receivers, and Bobo’s six touchdowns would tie with Tyler Lockett and Darrell Jackson for fifth.

Obviously, all of these projections are merely projections, and any number of factors could impact them for better or worse. What I am seeing, however, is that the Seahawks have a pair of talented rookie wide receivers who can provide meaningful snaps now, and both have great potential to take on an increased role as they mature. For JSN, the expectation is clearly that he will eventually slot in as a true every-down threat; for Bobo, even becoming a reliable weapon in a WR3/WR4 role could be a major success, given his undrafted status. Regardless of what happens, watching the development of these guys has been exciting thus far, and it will hopefully this is only the beginning.