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2018 NFL Draft: Film room scouting report on wide receiver James Washington

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The Panthers need help at wide receiver. Would James Washington be a good fit? Let’s take a look at the film and find out.

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Background

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.

Speed

Washington might not have straight line speed like Ted Ginn, but he has explosive speed down field.

Washington eats space so quickly when he stems his vertical route inside.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Ball skills

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.

Grading System

  • 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?

Poll

Should the Panthers draft wide receiver James Washington?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Yes
    (181 votes)
  • 31%
    No
    (84 votes)
265 votes total Vote Now