2018 NFL Draft Profile: Wide Receiver James Washington
By William Schneiderhan
This year’s NFL Draft has many tall, big-bodied wide receivers projected high, but there may be some smaller receivers that slip through the cracks. So, let’s take a look at the strengths, weaknesses and draft day predictions for James Washington out of Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State Cowboy, James Washington, stands six feet tall and 205 pounds. Not too small, but also not nearly the same size as some other wide receiver prospects in the 2018 NFL Draft like Courtland Sutton.
However, Washington’s size will still allow him to be dominant out of the slot, and he has the weight to challenge defensive backs on the outside. He also has a lot of talent in that frame, which can be seen in his insane college stats.
In four years at Oklahoma State, Washington collected 226 receptions, 4,472 receiving yards and 39 receiving touchdowns. Those numbers obliterate the stats that former Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley and former Texas A&M receiver Christian Kirk had as far as receiving yards and touchdowns go.
Washington had his best season in 2017, as he went for 74 receptions, 1,549 receiving yards, and 13 touchdowns. His 1,549 receiving yards landed him number one in the nation. This dominant campaign netted him the 2017 Fred Biletnikoff Award and a spot on the 2017 Consensus All-America team.
Yes, this still somehow leaves Washington undervalued in many mock drafts. But, if you need to put it in perspective, look at this. Washington’s stats are light years ahead of former Oklahoma State Cowboy, and current Dallas Cowboy, Dez Bryant.
Bryant did play one less year than Washington, but in those three years, he only collected 147 receptions, 29 touchdowns, and 2,425 receiving yards.
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According to NFL.com, Washington is a great, yet deceiving route runner with decent speed. He has a great ability to go downfield and make plays, and he has great jump-ball abilities. This can be seen with his 19.8 yards per reception in college.
The 21-year old has the ability to change his speed in order to catch passes, and he has an incredible ability to flag down the deep ball
Washington showed the ability to easily allude defenders in college, and he has the physical size to battle with them and doesn’t shy away from contact often.
Washington’s weaknesses seem to be attributed to the fact he played in the Big-12 conference. The issue with the Big-12 is that it is a conference that is known for little to no defense.
So, Washington’s numbers and dominance may seem to be a bit of an illusion at times.
The biggest weakness that Washington faces is the fact that he was rarely if ever challenged by press coverage in college. Why is this an issue? Because he will most definitely face man-to-man, press coverage at the line of scrimmage in the NFL. Washington’s footwork and hands are alarming, as this limits his ability to run some routes and catch all passes.
DRAFT DAY PREDICTION
Washington has been projected as a second-round pick. This is because he may have ideal size and decent speed, but his hands and ability to run all routes hinder him. NFL.com says he is capable to jump into the NFL and possibly challenge for a No. 2 wide receiver position.