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Crabbs | WR James Washington a catch point winner

Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

Crabbs | WR James Washington a catch point winner

Wide Receiver James Washington is considered one of the top senior pass catchers in the country. He, along with QB Mason Rudolph, were considered strong contenders to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. Instead, the super duo is back at Oklahoma State for another run.

All of these clips are brought to you by Krossover, NDT Scouting’s film partner for the 2018 NFL Draft season.

Washington is one of the 99 seniors that Jon Ledyard, Joe Marino and I are showcasing this summer as part of our NDT Scouting Premium services.

Washington’s full assessment will be available for NDT Premium subscribers but as with all of our works at NDT Scouting, we hope to continue to be transparent in our process. Therefore, consider these my “notes” on Washington, particularly where he’s most successful and why he’d be well served to show growth this year as a receiver.

Vertical tracking is a huge plus

The vertical portion of Washington’s game is where he’s currently at his best. Washington doesn’t have exceptional length but he’s very strong at the catch point and is masterful using his body to shield defenders from the ball.

While Washington doesn’t have top notch long speed, he’s one of the best receivers I’ve been exposed to at this point in tempering his release speed and adjusting his push up the field to manipulate defensive backs. In the play above, Washington illustrates much of this. Washington rolls cleanly off the line against off coverage and does well to leave a window outside of the numbers to bow himself into the path of the football.

Routes aren’t especially diverse

But much of where Washington is able to show himself in this Cowboys offense is screens, stops and nine routes (vertical passes). Fortunately, Washington has good success rates in all of these situations. He shows physicality after the catch, as seen above on a third down conversion. Washington’s build allows him to shrug off tackles if defenders aren’t able to get their frame behind the contact.

Here, on a come back, Washington does well to stop sharply and work back to the football. This assertiveness at the catch point meshes well with how Washington plays the ball vertically. This is a player that isn’t asked to play in a multitude of ways, but he doesn’t really need too. He shows high aptitude on the routes he does run and wins consistently.

Had a number of late season drops

One are of improvement for James Washington going forward? See the ball in cleanly on moving targets, especially when momentum is carrying Washington into the sideline. The ball got away from Washington in a number of late games in the season. Having the chance to pluck the ball cleanly there will afford him more opportunities to win in space after the catch.

A strong prospect, James Washington has the chance to take another step forward in 2017 with some more attention to fine detail. How many chances Washington is afforded in the Cowboys offense remains to be seen, however.

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Kyle Crabbs

Kyle Crabbs is the founder/Director of Scouting of NDT Scouting Services, a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and the lead NFL Draft analyst for the FanRag Sports Network.

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