2018 NFL Draft Prospect Spotlight: James Washington

WR James Washington  Oklahoma State


Hometown: Stamford, TX

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 205 lbs.

Career Rushing/Receiving Stats (Washington Post)

Year G Rush Yds Yd/Rush TDs Rec Yds TDs
2014 13 1 20 20.0 0 28 456 6
2015 13 1 10 10.0 0 53 1087 10
2016 13 4 28 7.0 0 71 1380 10
 Career 39 6 58 9.7 0 152 2923 26

With the first major weekend of the college football season in the books, there were plenty of intriguing prospects on your television screen this Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Ohio State defeated Indiana, and the hometown Minnesota Gophers opened the P.J. Fleck era with a victory over Buffalo, but arguably the most electrifying offense in the country took the field on Thursday against Tulsa.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys offense features one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation in Mason Rudolph, but arguably the most intriguing player on the roster is receiver James Washington.

Possibly the best deep threat in the country, Washington went on to set career high in catches, yards and tied his career best in touchdowns a season ago. Although he has relatively average height (6-foot-1) for his position, the Cowboys receiver is a physically imposing target. His physical stature pops off the screen when you watch and critique his film.

Where does Washington excel? He is fantastic at the catch point and makes a living off of winning what is called the “50-50” balls, which is similar to the opening tip-off in a basketball game. His aggressive nature and refusal to be denied is what sets him a part from his counterparts.

His 2016 contest against Iowa State was one of his best performances of the season. Washington recorded eight catches for 152 yards and added two touchdowns. Down-in and down-out, he proved to be the No. 1 option for the Cowboys offense.

Above is one of the many examples where shows his leaping ability.

Washington has shown the traits that enable quarterbacks to throw him the ball down the field while trusting him to come down with the catch. He has an innate ability to produce big plays down the field by plucking jump balls out of the air.

Another important factor when measuring receivers is determining their “catch radius”. A catch radius is how far away a receiver is able to catch the ball away from their body. On many occasions, you notice young, collegiate receivers trap the ball against their bodies. That would be a negative catch radius. On the other hand, you see some receivers that are able to extend their arms and catch balls exclusively with their hands. That would be a positive catch radius.

Washington has shown a tremendous catch radius to this point. He not only displays it when the ball is thrown to him deep, but he also shows it in the short-to-intermediate areas as well. Being that he is a receiver with a positive catch radius, Washington’s able to read and react to defenders quicker once he secures the ball.

Where Washington needs the most work is his route running. It is something that has become some what of a lost art for college receivers. With college offenses going to a more up-tempo, half-field read style of play, receivers do not necessarily have to be able to run a full repertoire of routes.

Instead, they specialize in the routes that are primarily called by their respective offensive coordinators. This is the case with the Oklahoma State offense.

Washington isn’t a poor route runner by any stretch, but he has some glaring flaws that need to be cleaned up. When running short-to-intermediate routes, he has a tendency to raise his body higher the closer he gets to his designed route-depth.

Why is this bad?

As he raises higher, he is tipping to the defensive back that’s guarding him that he is getting closer to reaching his route-depth. This allows the defender to jump his route or predetermine what he’s doing before its conclusion.

James Washington has a high ceiling as a prospect. He is an extremely aggressive receiver that shows a go-get it mentality when attacking the ball in the air. If he can clean up his overall route running and abilities to be a threat after the catch, he has a chance to be one of the top receiver in the country.

For NFL news and draft analysis, follow J.R. on Twitter @JReidDraftScout.

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