The 2017 Biletnikoff award winner and Oklahoma States game breaker. James Washington is an intriguing prospect because he looks a lot like a running back, yet he is one of the nations best receivers. His stats (69 receptions, 1,423 rec. yards, and 13 TD’s) are quite impressive but to be expected for a receiver of his caliber when playing in the Big 12. Here is my opinion on him after watching his film….
Games viewed: vs Texas Tech (2017), vs. Tulsa (2017), vs. TCU (2017), vs. Oklahoma (2017), and vs. Baylor (2016)
Measurables: 6’0, 205 lbs.
Strengths: Washington is an exciting, big play receiver. His deep threat ability is how he made a name for himself on the college stage. Hell, I watched him do it against Virginia Tech last night in the Camping World Bowl. He is able to use his speed to create separation and cause these big plays, but that is not the only thing that has contributed to his success. Washington can track the ball like no one else in this draft, his ability to come back to underthrown passes or just adjust in general is second to none. This is one of the primary ways he was able to make so many tough catches despite being undersized Look below and watch how Washington adjusts his body to come back to an underthrown ball, extremely impressive. gifs.com/gif/james-washington-clip-1-N97yrL In terms of route running, the few routes Washington actually runs, he is exceptional at. These include the slant, go, post, with the occasional out and dig. Washington (when using them) also has exceptional hands, I noticed that he uses his hands when he is making uncontested catches, while using his body far too often for 50/50 deep balls.
Weaknesses: Washington does not high point balls enough. Instead of going up for balls and using his hands to catch them, Washington opts to body catch. This leads me to my next point, Washington far too often boxes out opposing cornerbacks so he can body catch rather than jumping up for balls and using his hands. He was able to get away with this against a lot of sub-par talent in Big 12 secondary’s. Is this something he can improve on? Absolutely. This is just not something that will fly at the next level. He is also a limited route runner, based on film alone you can count the number of routes he runs on one hand. Washington is also slower than he seems on tape. His speed is built upon as he runs rather than having an explosive initial step.
Verdict: Washington is a playmaker but not as dynamic as his stats would lead you to believe. He is deceptively fast and catches with his body far too often. He has the ability to be a nice #2 option for teams at the next level but is not someone who I would like build my offense around. My prediction is he will be an late 2nd to early 3rd round pick.