By: Willie Lovato
- Deep threat
- Physical after the catch
- Great ball tracking and attack on 50-50 balls
- Big-time college production
Deep threat - Washington's #1 weapon is his ability to get behind opposing defenders. With a career average of 19.8 yards per catch, defenses will be forced to respect his speed on the next level, which will open things up for those around him as well.
Versatility - How he will be used on the next level is up in the air. Due to his size, the slot seems to be the go-to projection for Washington on the next level however, his ability to stretch the field makes him able to line up in both the slot and outside.
Ball tracking and attack - Washington's ability to track the ball in the air and make the necessary adjustments to put himself in position to come down with it is one of his best traits. Standing at only 5'11", you wouldn't think Washington would be able to be great at winning in 50-50 situations, but his 33 7/8 ridiculously long arms help him make up for his lack of size and be one the drafts best 50-50 ball attackers. Just for reference, Washington's arms measured in just 1/8 inch shorter than 6'5" tight end Mike Gesicki.
- Struggles against physical corners
- Limited route-runner
Size - Size can only be put into context when factoring a players skill-set. Washington made a living on the outside which does present questions marks around his size on the next level. Every corner he matches up with is going to be bigger, faster, and stronger than anything he saw in college.
Struggles against press coverage - Washington's size could be tied into his struggles against physical corners but I think it's more of a technique issue. He'll need to improve his hand fighting at the point of contact in the NFL to avoid getting jammed at the line of scrimmage.
Limited route-runner - When I say limited route-runner, I don't mean he needs to master the route tree. I mean he needs to continue to work at perfecting his craft. Simply running by defenders giving 5-8 yards of separation at the line of scrimmage isn't going to cut it. He will need to sell his faints and improve his footwork in and out of his breaks.
James Washington is one of the 2018 class' most exciting prospects. Although I doubt he will ever be a teams #1 WR, his versatility and big play ability will make him an immediate impact player for any team that drafts him.
Landing spot will play a big role in Washington's upside due to the questions marks around how teams view him. If he's used primarily as a slot receiver, he will need to prove he can thrive in that role full-time. Perhaps the best case scenario is a team that uses him both in the slot and on the outside. His ability to stretch the field and college YPC average suggest he should see time outside regardless of how teams are profiling him.