2018 NFL Draft Scouting Report
Prospect: James Washington
Ht: 6'0" Wt: 205
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Given the opportunity to get drafted in the first two days, it is rare for a player to return to school. Oklahoma State got a double scoop of that delight when Washington announced that he would return along with quarterback Mason Rudolph. Washington has put up back-to-back seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving and will look to make it three straight as a senior. Washington may not catch a lot of eyes with his height or speed, but he has been a reliable target his entire career, and that is always a welcomed addition in the NFL.
As I mentioned, Washington isn't going to blow anyone away by being the biggest or fastest receiver. Still, Washington has mastered some of the finer points of playing the position. He plays bigger than his 6-foot stature, by using his long arms that he extends to the ball. This maximizes his catch radius and makes him an easier target to hit. While it would seem like this is a given for any receiver with long arms, it is actually rare. Because Washington has such soft hands, and terrific hand-eye coordination, he very rarely catches a ball near his frame. He extends his hands regularly to the ball, and it makes him a bigger target because of it. He also shows advanced footwork in and out of his breaks. Oklahoma State may not have an extensive route tree, but he has learned how to minimize his steps in and out of his breaks and shows great explosion. This should lead to him adapting very quickly to NFL routes, which require this kind of skillset.
Where he takes his game to another level is on the mental side. He doesn't get caught jawing with opponents, and he has a physical mindset. The second he tucks the ball away, Washington becomes a running back. This also maximizes his speed. Many players run 4.3's in t-shirts and shorts, then never get to full speed on the field. Washington doesn't think about the traffic he is running through. He just takes off as if he is the only player on the field, and that kind of mentality is what makes a 4.5-receiver look like one of the fastest players on the field. This kind of physicality also shows up when he competes for the ball. His focus, combined with his core strength, make him difficult to keep from the ball. He also appears to have an above-average ability to go up for passes.
I do worry about whether or not he has the ability to be a number-one target but players like Donald Driver, Hines Ward, and Golden Tate were all similar players, and all had years where they were the leading receiver. That just shows how valuable being a reliable target can make you. Still, Washington will likely be a number-two target that just occasionally outperforms the top guy. He will also have to learn to play from the slot. He hasn't had a ton of experience inside, but with his toughness and ability to explode out of his breaks, he will likely find an early fit there.
Washington is a captain and the type of guy that players naturally follow. He is playing through a hernia injury this season, which speaks to his toughness, but it could be something that affects his draft status after the season. Washington plays with a type of energy that proves his passion for the game, and his character will be a plus for any team considering drafting him. I wouldn't say that I expect him to be a first-round lock, but he is clearly a day-two prospect, with a chance to sneak into the first round if he shines in the pre-draft process.
Compares to (Current NFL Player): Golden Tate (Detroit Lions)
- Terrific hands
- Disciplined feet that should make him a good route-runner
- Always plays full-speed
- Plays bigger than he is
- Leadership ability
- Mentally tough
- Average size
- Not a speedster
- Hasn't run many NFL routes
|Video Courtesy of Harris Highlights|
1)   Who is James Washington? 5 things to know about Oklahoma State wide receiver   - Diehards.com |
2)   True to himself: Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington always had the ability. The confidence made him a star   - TulsaWorld.com |
3)   James Washington & Co. are like a baseball batting order
- NewsOK.com |