I’m going to start releasing scouting reports on a consistent basis for the next few months. Since I consider athleticism to be an important component for edge rushers, I’m going to withhold doing any until after the combine. There are less than 100 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, so I obviously can’t write a scouting report on every prospect. I’m going to prioritize high profile players in areas of need for Carolina.
The 2017 Biletnikoff Award winner completed a storied season in Stillwater with 226 catches, 4472 yards, and 39 touchdowns. James Washington was a 3-star recruit from Stamford, Texas. Washington was a versatile athlete in high school. He attributed his tennis skills in improving his agility, track improved his speed, and basketball helped his vertical ability and timing. Washington accepted an invitation to the 2018 Senior Bowl.
Washington might not have straight line speed like Ted Ginn, but he has explosive speed down field.
Even if you play off coverage against Washington, he eats up the space very quickly. Then he stacks the CB and Rudolph makes a nice throw pic.twitter.com/Q540afnFrv— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 17, 2018
Washington eats space so quickly when he stems his vertical route inside.
Washington changes speed down field and comes down with a ridiculous catch. Not bad pic.twitter.com/KsSiZgRJLe— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 17, 2018
It’s one thing to have straight line speed, but an important quality is controlling your speed. Washington begins his route slowly, but shows gradual acceleration to come down with the reception.
Route running involves a ton of key phases such as releasing vs press, burst in and out of cuts, selling routes, and running a diverse route tree. Washington’s overall route running skill set is fine, but some areas need work. First, let’s view the positives.
James Washington’s footwork on the release. Better than you think pic.twitter.com/pehOvOrrjC— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 27, 2018
Washington starts in a low stance, but his first step catches the corner off balance. Washington leverages this advantage to burst up field for a huge play.
Fascinating matchup. Washington draws a holding flag on Hill here pic.twitter.com/HZ4IByuGXS— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 27, 2018
Washington had a tough game vs Texas, but this play shows his strengths. He is facing off coverage, but sells the vertical route by stemming inside. He draws a holding flag as a result.
Washington takes too many steps to bring himself under control. On hitch routes, he should be done in 3 steps. pic.twitter.com/rBxhRtFAnr— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 27, 2018
There is a ton of nuance involved in executing a successful hitch route. Washington takes too many steps to turn his head, which ruins the timing. Washington gets too upright and needs to be more consistent at staying low.
One area where Washington needs to improve are at the top of his route stems when he cuts outside. This is not the cleanest move pic.twitter.com/qR9hla3QmG— Billy Marshall (@BillyM_91) January 17, 2018
In addition, Washington did not show the cleanest cuts on out breaking routes. He has to sell his routes better by staying low to the ground.
Another example of Washington running too high and as a result he is in a tough position to run a polished out route.
Washington did display a good understanding of vacated areas in zone coverage. He breaks his route inside to avoid any defenders.
This is a clear area of strength for James Washington. It wasn’t just coming down with 50/50 balls. Washington demonstrated the consistent ability to high point, track, and carry the ball.
Washington goes deep on the secondary, but comes down with a ridiculous catch. He’s very physical at the top of his routes.
Washington’s strong release allows him to stack the corner and he makes a nice grab with a defender in hot pursuit.
Grade and fit in Carolina
Washington would be an ideal Z receiver in Norv Turner’s offense. He had a productive career, but also displayed a refined skill set. Carolina has struggled to replace Ted Ginn and Washington certainly doesn’t have the same speed as Ginn, but he does get vertical very well. Washington is built well, which helps him in tight ball situations. Washington needs to polish his cuts on out breaking routes, but with his low stance on releases it’s an area that can improve.
- 95+: HOF talent
- 90-94.99: Future All Pro
- 80-89.99: Future Pro Bowler
- 70-79.99: Day 1 starter
- 60-69.99: Potential year 1 starter/year 2 potential starter
- 55-59.99: Potential to make a roster
- 54.99 lower: Training Camp/depth player
My final grade for Washington is 79.44, which amounts to a day one starter.
What about you, Panthers fans? Do you think the Panthers should draft James Washington?
Should the Panthers draft wide receiver James Washington?
This poll is closed