Sixth Round: 188th Pick
Cornelius Washington was overshadowed by Jarvis Jones and company during his time at Georgia, but that all changed this offseason.
Washington shined at Senior Bowl, the Scouting Combine and at a pro day where he was able to flash his outstanding athleticism. It has caused him to shoot up some draft boards as a result.
Still, Washington is very much viewed as a tweener pass-rushing prospect who needs a lot of coaching to succeed at the next level.
Read the following scouting report to find out if Washington has the tools to succeed in the NFL.
|+ Prototypical size with room to grow at 6'4" 265 pounds.||- Tendency to rush stiff and upright.|
|+ Elite workout numbers.||- Takes plays off.|
|+ Great get-off and use of length to get past linemen.||- Average flexibility and change-of-direction.|
|+ Physical style that creates turnovers.||
- Limited production in college.
Washington wowed at the Scouting Combine with a 4.53 40-yard dash despite weighing in at 6'4" and 265 pounds.
He followed up that impressive performance with another at Georgia's pro day where he worked out as a linebacker for scouts.
While a bit undersized to play 4-3 defensive end at the next level, Washington has room to pack on more muscle pass, which could allow him to put his hand in the dirt. He's not the total package as a linebacker yet, so where he lands and how he is utilized will be critical to his NFL career.
In interviews, Washington seems committed to improving on the file, but he's had his fair share of issues off the field as well.
Back in October of 2011, Washington was arrested for a DUI after being clocked at 92 miles per hour in a 55 zone. He was suspended two games as a result of the infraction (per ESPN).
Washington also drew the ire of the Bulldogs fanbase by lambasting what he perceived as fairweather fans via Facebook last year (h/t redandblack.com):
"all think you know so much, but in reality you know nothing. You don't know what we come from, you don't know our struggles, all you know is the number on our jersies. 99% of you don't give a crap about us outside of football," Washington posted on Facebook. "When we're doing well you're all in our faces, when things get tough and we need encouragement you're nowhere to be found. You're fake and I despise you for it. We shall band together guys, we've been working hard and we only need each other. NONE of those outsiders will contribute to our survival as a team or as individuals, you can guarantee that. #stickclosetoeachother ~corn washington"
Washington was the definition of underutilized during his time at Georgia. He was asked to play the five-technique and outside linebacker as a pass-rusher and as a result only generated 10.5 sacks in his collegiate career—including just 0.5 as a senior.
Washington is a strong and violent rusher who can get in the backfield when used properly by his team. When lined up out wide with his hand in the dirt, he shows an ability to beat offensive linemen thanks to his combination of speed and length.
Although he appears to have unlimited potential as a pass-rusher, Washington is still very raw. He rushes mechanically and lacks a counter move, so if a stronger offensive lineman gets his hands on Washington he can usually take him out of a play. A lack of ideal flexibility hurts him in this regard as well.
Against the Run
Washington leaves much to be desired against the run.
While he is a rare physical specimen, he simply is not built to defend against the run at this point in time.
A combination of slow change-of-direction speed and play recognition skills plague Washington when tasked with defending the run. He has a streaky motor, which has a habit of rearing its head on running plays.
To be fair to Washington, he was not utilized as much of a run defender at Georgia. If he wants to be an every-down player in the NFL, it is something he is going to have to improve on, and is at least part of the reason he is not slated to go much higher in the draft.
The numbers were not amazing for Washington while at Georgia, but he is a sound tackler in most scenarios.
Washington has a mean streak that makes ball carries pay the price. He has a positive habit of punching and ripping at the ball whenever around the ball carrier or while in the process of bringing one down.
His motor and effort at times is questionable, but when he's on, Washington was one of the fiercest players on the field. He whiffed on tackles at times and can take bad angles, but more often than not he has shown an ability to be up to the task when confronting ball carriers.
Use of Hands
Another area where Washington flashes strong tendencies is when using his hands to rush the passer. He has ridiculously long arms at 34" and big hands to match at 9.5".
Washington excels at using his hands to work pas offensive linemen and tight ends once he has used his stellar first-step speed to already gain leverage.
He does not generate as much power with his hands as NFL scouts will want to see, but he uses them well enough combined with his speed to make a difference.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Washington is a bit of a raw project pick no matter what type of defense a team is running. He has experience in a 3-4 as an outside linebacker, but didn't flash enough to show he could be an every-down starter.
As a pure pass-rusher, Washington is best split out wide as a 4-3 end like he was when he wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl. The problem with that is Washington simply is not heavy or powerful enough at this time to make a major difference every down at the end position in the NFL.
Washington is a tweener prospect who will be selected by a coaching staff that believes in his abilities that fit their system. After that, it could take a few years of development before Washington is making contributions on an every-down basis.
Draft Projection: Round 3-4.
Follow me on Twitter for more NFL news and analysis.